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SECOND CORINTHIANS 



BIBLE STUDY TEXTBOOK SERIES 



STUDIES IN 

SECOND CORINTHIANS 



by 

Paul T. Butler 




College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri 



Copyright © 1988 
College Press Publishing Company 



Printed And Bound In The 

United States of America 

All Rights Reserved 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 87-73506 
International Standard Book Number: 9-89900-066-5 



This volume is dedicated to 

Gale Kinnard Butler 

"fairest among women . . . whom my soul loves" 

wife for four decades, and 

co-laborer in the ministry of the Gospel 

for three decades. . . . 

. . . there would have been no ministry without her! 

and 

to Sara Ann Butler 

our "princess "-granddaughter 



Table of Contents 

Introduction 9 

Background 11 

Second Corinthians Page 

Chapter 

One The Problem of Adversity 15 

Special Study: Blessing of Being Sealed By The 

Holy Spirit : 29 

Two The Problem of Loneliness 43 

Three The Problem of Legalism 63 

Special Study: Notes From Christian Baptism 78 

Special Study: Are We Fundamentalists? 81 

Four The Problem of Discouragement 91 

Special Study: Unbelief Is Deliberate . . . ." ,.114 

Special Study: God — Fact Or Fiction 125 

Special Study: Evolution, Unscientific & Immoral 136 

Five The Problem of Perspective 151 

Special Study: Propitiation 174 

Special Study: Justification 179 

Special Study: Redemption 183 

Special Study: The Work of Reconciliation 191 

Special Study: Faith ' 204 

Special Study. Obedience 209 

Six The Problem With Paganism 215 

Special Study: Judgment Begins At The House of God .... 237 

Seven The Problem of Repentance 253 

Eight The Problem of Stewardship — Part 1 271 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Nine The Problem of Stewardship — Part II 295 

Special Study: Why Give Money To God? 314 

Ten The Problem of Ministerial Methods 319 

Special Study: The Restoration Movement 339 

Eleven The Problem of Slander 359 

Special Study: A Watchman For God 385 

Twelve The Problem of Weaknesses 399 

Special Study: The Problem of Evil 421 

Special Study: Is There Demon Possession Today 

As There Was During The Time of 
Christ's Incarnate Ministry? 425 

Special Study: Questions About Whether The Devil 
Can Actually Perform Supernatural 
Deeds Or Not 430 

Thirteen The Problem of Christian Maturity 435 

Special Study: The Task of the Church Is To Equip 

Ministers of the Gospel 449 

Special Study: Values Are 454 

Special Study: Values Are Established By 464 

Bibliography 483 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Nine The Problem of Stewardship — Part II 295 

Special Study: Why Give Money To God? 314 

Ten The Problem of Ministerial Methods 319 

Special Study: The Restoration Movement 339 

Eleven The Problem of Slander 359 

Special Study: A Watchman For God 385 

Twelve The Problem of Weaknesses 399 

Special Study: The Problem of Evil 421 

Special Study: Is There Demon Possession Today 
A There Was During The Time of 
Christ's Incarnate Ministry? 425 

Special Study: Questions About Whether The Devil 
Can Actually Perform Supernatural 
Deeds Or Not 430 

Thirteen The Problem of Christian Maturity 435 

Special Study: The Task of the Church Is To Equip 

Ministers of the Gospel 449 

Special Study: Values Are 454 

Special Study: Values Are Established By 464 

Bibliography 483 



INTRODUCTION 

Have you ever read someone else's diary? My sister and I became 
privy to our mother's daily diary recently, after the Lord called her 
home to heaven. It was a very emotional, intimate and strengthening 
experience. After reading Second Corinthians a man said he felt like a 
person would after rummaging in an old desk and discovering the dai- 
ly diary of a preacher named "Paul." He said he felt almost as if he 
should not have been reading the pages because they were so intimate 
and special. But he was captivated with the desire to learn as much as 
he could from this great servant of the Lord, so he was unable to put 
the book aside until he had read and reread it. 

You will feel something when you study Second Corinthians ! You 
may say to yourself, "Yes, Paul, I know how you felt about that 
because I have had the same experience!" The letter may make you 
feel sympathy, disgust, shame, determination, and even anger. And it 
will not be only your emotions that are stirred. It will also attack your 
mind. You will have to think. A number of doctrines and spiritual 
principles for life will demand understanding and decision. It will 
build your faith and strengthen your capacity to live the sanctified life. 

This epistle should be "required monthly reading" for every 
preacher, missionary, and Sunday School teacher. It should be re- 
quired study for all Bible college students. Elders and deacons would 
be more sympathetic toward preachers if this epistle was read once 
each month at "board meetings." Don't just read it — partake of it! 
It is God's Word, lived and learned by God's greatest servant, to en- 
courage all his other servants. 



BACKGROUND 



Authorship: 



This epistle is so certainly from the pen of the apostle Paul 
Thiessen (in Introduction To The New Testament, Eerdmans, pg. 
206-207) says, "Both the external and the internal evidence for the 
genuineness of this Epistle are so strong that we really need not dwell 
on these points. . , ." Polycarp (69-156 A.D., pupil of the apostle 
John) quotes II Cor. 4:14 and 8:21 in his Epistle to the Philippians; 
Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.) frequently quotes from II Corinthians (e.g. 
2:15-16); Tertullian (160-220 A.D.) cites II Cor. 11:14 in his Treatise 
on the Soul; The Epistle is mentioned in the Muratorian Canon (170 
A.D.) and is found in both the Old Syriac (ca. 150 A.D.) and the Old 
Latin (ca. 150 A.D.). The writer of the epistle twice calls himself, 
"Paul" 1:1; 10:1); the subject matter parallels all we know of Paul 
the apostle historically and theologically. That the apostle Paul was its 
author is certainly established beyond any reasonable doubt. 



Historical and Cultural Background: 

The student is referred to introductory notes in First Corinthians, 
by Paul T. Butler, College Press, for background material on the city 
of Corinth and the establishment of the church there. 



Occasion and Date: 

Paul established the church in Corinth on his second missionary 
journey (Acts 18) about 50-51 A.D. After a year or more there he 
returned to Palestine (Acts 18:18-22); thence, eventually, to Ephesus 
(A.D. 54) on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:24-19:41) where he 
stayed three years. During this time he wrote a "first" letter to Cor- 
inth (I Cor. 5:9) not preserved. Receiving word from the household of 
Chloe of the many problems in the Corinthian congregation, he then 
wrote First Corinthians. In spite of Paul's strong condemnation and 
warning about division the party-spirit continued, agitated by Judaiz- 
ing factions insisting on observance of the law of Moses and Jewish 
traditions (see II Cor. 3:1-18; 10:7; 11:13). When this news reached 



11 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Paul at Ephesus, he made a short visit to Corinth to deal with it, but 
failed in the attempt (II Cor. 2:1; 12:14,21; 13:1,2), and he returned to 
Ephesus. 

Plummer, Barclay, Thiessen, etal. think Paul, soon after returning 
to Ephesus from his "short, second visit," wrote a "severe" third let- 
ter sending it to Corinth by Titus (II Cor. 2:3,4,0; 7:8-12). Plummer 
thinks that the major portion of this "severe, third letter" is preserved 
in chapters 10 through 13 of what is now our extant Second Corin- 
thians. That theory has been successfully disproved by Bernard. 

While waiting for Titus to return with a report of the effect of his 
"severe, third letter," trouble arose in Ephesus, and he left that city 
before he had planned to do so (Acts 20:1). Paul started to 
Macedonia, via Troas, to meet Titus returning from Corinth. The two 
met in Macedonia in the fall of A.D. 57 as Paul was visiting churches 
in the region of Philippi and Thessalonica. Titus' word was that the 
long letter we now call First Corinthians had accomplished much good 
(II Cor. 7:6), but at the same time, his "short second visit" and his 
"severe, third letter" had not solved the problem of party-spirit and 
division; he was told, in fact, that some "false authorities" at Corinth 
were attacking his motives, his integrity and his authority as an apostle 
of Christ. Against the background of this news and Paul's deep con- 
cern, he determined to visit Corinth "a third time" and he wrote 
(from Macedonia) Second Corinthians, which appears to have been 
his "fourth" letter to the congregation there. He sent Second Corin- 
thians on ahead to the church by the hand of Titus (II Cor. 8:6, 17). A 
little later Paul reached Corinth, and spent the winter of A.D. 57 there 
(Acts 20:2, 3), as he had planned (I Cor. 16:5, 6). While in Corinth, he 
wrote his great Epistle to the Romans. 



Purpose: 

Second Corinthians is probably the least known of all Paul's let- 
ters. It has even been called by some "Paul's unknown letter." That is 
a tragedy. Christians are much poorer because so few have had the 
motivation or self-discipline required to study a type of writing which 
demands personal involvement of mind and emotions. In Second Cor- 
inthians we are called upon to evaluate a person, not just a doctrine. 



12 



BACKGROUND 

Second Corinthians is the "Jeremiah" of the New Testament. It is a 
very personal letter from the heart of this mighty apostle, Here we see 
him dealing with the trials and joys of his ministry from a subjective 
and intimate perspective. Here we are exposed to the ministry of the 
gospel as it stabs the human heart, defeats and depresses. Here we are 
involved in the experience of the ministry as it is actually lived out in 
life, "up close, and personal." Accepting the mission of Christ as a 
life-time calling will bring one a life fraught with personal adversaries 
and psychological turmoil. But its victories and rewards are beyond all 
comparison to its trials (II Cor. 4:16-18). In this letter the Holy Spirit 
bears witness with the spirit of Paul that a life devoted to the pro- 
clamation of the gospel is the most challenging, useful and fulfilled 
life ever! That is what Second Corinthians is all about! 



13 






Chapter One 

The problem of Adversity 
(1:1-24) 

IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1 . Was this epistle addressed to any other than the Corinthians? 

2. What is affliction? What purpose does it serve? 

3. What is comfort? How does one know when he is receiving com- 
fort? 

4. What behavior toward the Corinthians is Paul defending? 

5. Why is it wrong for preachers to vacillate? 

SECTION 1 

Affliction (1:1-11) 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and 
1 Timothy our brother. 

To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints 
who are in the whole of Achaia: 

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the 
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in 
all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who 
are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves 
are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's 
sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort 
too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and 
if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience 
when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 
7 Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in 
our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 

8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the af- 
fliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, 
unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. 9 Why, we felt 
that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make 
us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; 10 he 
delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him 



15 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. u You also 
must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our 
behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers. 

1:1-7 Aim: The aim of adversity or affliction is to strengthen. 
That is God's aim. Men have difficulty accepting that. Men cannot see 
the eternal purpose in all earthly circumstances and most of them will 
not believe God's revelation. God subjected all creation to futility 
(which inevitably includes affliction) so that it would hope and groan 
for divine assistance and redemption (Rom. 8:18-39). With the subjec- 
tion to affliction, God also supplies the divine assistance. 

The word for comfort in Greek is paraklesseos. It is a combined 
word from para meaning "alongside" and kaleo, meaning "to call or 
summon into one's presence." It is the same word used by the apostle 
John in his Gospel as the name of the Holy Spirit, or Paraclete, and is 
translated, "Comforter, Counselor" (Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26). The word 
means "to call for an assistant." To be comforted means to be 
assisted, helped, strengthened. 

Should those who preach and teach the gospel understand their ex- 
periences of affliction as assistance? Yes! So says God through the 
apostle Paul. Such an understanding and acceptance can only come, 
however, when the human mind and emotions are surrendered to the 
divine revelation. Acceptance will not come by human reason or feel- 
ing or experience. Everything in the human perspective says affliction 
is disadvantageous and in opposition to man's highest good. Only 
God knows affliction assists man to his highest good. Man has to 
believe God in opposition to his feelings and his experiences. 

The Greek word thlipseiis translated affliction andmeans, "trou- 
ble, suffering due to pressure of circumstances." It is translated 
"straitened" in the KJV. Jesus was under constant pressure in his 
earthly ministry (see Col. 1:24). He was "troubled" or "straitened" 
often (Luke 12:50; John 11:33, 38; 12:27; 13:21). He said those who 
wished to be his disciples would enter through a difficult gate and con- 
tinually travel on a road of affliction (Matt. 7:13-14) {tethlimmene, 
Greek perfect tense verb depicting a continuity of circumstances and 
results). Thlipsei refers not only to physical suffering but also to men- 
tal, emotional and psychological pressures. Every servant of God will 
suffer both afflictions. Sometimes physical suffering is induced by the 



16 



THE PROBLEM OF ADVERSITY 

psychological afflictions, or vice versa. Jesus experienced both (see 
Heb. 2:10-18; 5:7-9; 12:1-2). Paul suffered both (II Cor. 11:21-33; 
12:7-10; Phil. 4:10-13; Gal. 6:17). The early christians suffered both 
(Heb. 10:33; I Thess. 2:14; I Pet. 4:12ff; Rev. 2:13; II Thess. 1:4, 
etc.). 

Christians are not to be surprised that affliction comes their way as 
if it were something strange (I Pet. 4:12). All who would live godly in 
this world will suffer persecution (II Tim. 3:12). In fact, anyone not 
being disciplined or strengthened by affliction should question their 
relationship with Christ (see Heb. 12:5-11). 

Jesus was assisted (strengthened) by the afflictions and pressures 
He suffered. The book of Hebrews says Jesus was "perfected" 
through the things he suffered (Heb. 2:10; 5:9; 7:28; 12:2). That 
means, Jesus reached the goal God set for him and he did it through 
suffering affliction. It was for the very purpose of suffering that Jesus 
came into the world (Isa. 53:1-12; John 12:27; Luke 12:50; Matt. 
26:38-39). It was revealed to Paul that part of the purpose of God for 
christians is to fulfill in their lives the afflictions of Christ (Col. 
1:24-26). Paul also learned that messengers of the gospel are 
"perfected" (reach the goal God has for them) through affliction (II 
Cor. 12:7ff). 

One of the primary gains of affliction is the capacity to minister to 
others. And it is not so much that we could never be of any help until 
we have suffered, as it is that the sufferer is made aware there is some- 
one who understands, who sympathizes, and knows what it feels like 
to suffer. God had no need to become incarnate in Jesus and ex- 
perience affliction in order to make him capable of helping us. But we 
needed to know he had experienced the same afflictions we experience 
in order that we would trust and turn to him as one who understands 
and as one who conquered. 

The Creator (incarnate) experienced affliction for our sake. We 
creatures experience it, secondly, because we could not really under- 
stand and sympathize without it. We are not omnipotent and omni- 
scient — we are not divine — we must learn by doing. Furthermore, it 
is our affliction that motivates us to comfort the afflicted. What made 
David the "shepherd-king" of Israel? His afflictions at the hand of 
Saul and others. What made Moses the great deliverer of Israel? The 
"abuse" he suffered as an Israelite (Heb. 11:24-28). 



17 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

To aspire to the spiritual perfection or maturity of Jesus Christ 
without aspiring to the suffering and affliction of Christ is to 
misunderstand the Scriptures. Paul plainly says in verse 5, "For as we 
share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share 
abundantly in comfort (strength) too." It is the christian's calling to 
suffer for doing right (see I Peter chapters, 2 and 4). Affliction is 
christian education. The first thing the christian learns in affliction is 
that he is to be a comfort (strength) to others. The suffering christian 
is trained by his affliction so that he may lead others to the strength 
that comes from their afflictions. Christian comfort extended to those 
being afflicted is not merely sympathy — it is leading the afflicted to 
find the strength that should be coming from what they are experienc- 
ing. Strengthening is the aim of affliction. Looked at from God's 
perspective, affliction is not an adversity but an advantage! Affliction 
is not a weakness, but a strength. Paul found that when he was driven 
to God's grace by his weaknesses, he actually became strong (cf. II 
Cor. 12:7-10). And that especially applies to ministers of the Gospel. 

1:8-11 After-effect: Paul illustrates his point by referring to one of 
his own experiences. He uses the expression, ". . . we do not want 
you to be ignorant ..." to emphasize the importance of what he is 
about to say (see I Cor. 10:1; 12:1; Rom. 1:13; 11:25; I Thess. 4:13). 
He is discussing a very important christian doctrine — the purpose of 
affliction. This question about the reason for suffering is a question 
which all mankind longs to have answered. So Paul wants the Corin- 
thian church to pay particular attention to what he has to say. 

When Paul suffered this affliction is not certain. It is most likely a 
reference to the trouble that resulted from the riot in Ephesus (see 
Acts 19:23 — 30:1). The lives of Paul and his co-workers were in 
danger there. Paul did not tell the Corinthians what the affliction was, 
but he did describe its seriousness. 

He said they were "utterly" (Gr. huperbolen, literally, "thrown 
over" or "excessively"), "unbearably" (Gr. huper dunamin, literally, 
"beyond power") "crushed" (Gr. ebarethemen, literally, "burdened 
down"). Paul and his co-workers, on this occasion, suffered deep 
depression. The Greek word exaporethenai is translated despair and 
literally means, "to be utterly without a way through." Death stared 
them in the face and they saw no way out of it. Within themselves (Gr. 
alia autoi en heautois, lit. "and ourselves, in ourselves . . . ") they 



18 



THE PROBLEM OF ADVERSITY 

were possessed (Gr. eschekamen, "had, possessed, seized") with the 
sentence of death (Gr. apokrima tou thanatou). 

Do christians get depressed? Do ministers of the gospel suffer 
depression? Yes! Apostles suffered depression. Even the Lord Jesus 
himself experienced it! Jesus once said, "I have a baptism to be bap- 
tized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!" (Luke 
12:50). The Greek word sunechomai is translated constrained in the 
RSV, and distressed in the NIV. The word literally means "to be 
pressed together, to be pressured." The depressing shadow of the 
cross was constantly across the path of Jesus. His soul was 
"troubled" often by the unjust death he was to die (see John 12:27ff; 
13:21). In Gethsemane he "grieved and was distressed" and his soul 
"was deeply grieved even unto death" (Matt. 26:37-38). David, king 
of Israel, suffered depression (see Psa. 3; 5; 6; 10; 12; 13; etc.). 

Does such despair serve any purpose? Yes! Paul said his despair in 
Asia came in order that (Gr. hina) they should not rely on themselves 
but on God who raises the dead. God "knocks the props out from 
under us" occasionally in order to show us that he is the only way 
through. God desires that we trust completely in him. Our Father has 
a divine inheritance to give us which we cannot receive unless we trust 
him completely. Abraham was despairing of ever having a child; 
Moses despaired of his ability to lead Israel; David despaired of ever 
being king of Israel — but God "pulled them through." Not only did 
God fulfill in them what he promised in this life, but out of their sur- 
render to his grace, he saved them for eternal life with him. _, 

If Paul's extremity was the riot in Ephesus (Acts 19), God delivered 
him, and his co-workers, through secondary means. God did not work 
any miracles to stop the riot. He simply made it possible for the town 
clerk to persuade the rioters against violence. This being the case, how 
did Paul know it was God who had delivered him? He knew there was 
no way out of the "deadly peril" surrounding him, and when the im- 
possible became possible, he believed it was from God. Besides, Paul 
had hoped in God in times past and had been delivered. The Greek 
word elpikamen is perfect tense and means Paul had set his hope on 
God in the past and was continuing to do so. The temptations to 
pride, independence, self-reliance and human capability are so strong 
and so constant, God must continually allow some people to "endure 
a hard struggle with sufferings . . . "(seeHeb. 10:32). All men "have 



19 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

need of endurance so that they may do the will of God and receive 
what is promised" (Heb. 10:36). Suffering produces endurance, 
character, and hope (Rom. 5:3-5). God subjected all of this present 
creation (humanness included) to futility for the purpose that it might 
turn to him in hope (see Rom. 8:18-25). Now when suffering, despair, 
loss and human frailty sweeps over the soul of man, there are only two 
alternatives. One is to allow a "root of bitterness" to spring up, in- 
crease the "trouble," and thereby become defiled (see Heb. 12:12-17). 
The other is to throw oneself completely upon the mercy and grace of 
God, learning that when we admit and live in a spirit of human 
weakness we may become strong through trust in God (II Cor. 
12:1-10). It sounds paradoxical that strength will come from an at- 
titude of weakness. And without God in the equation, it would be a 
contradiction. Friedrich Nietzsche scoffed at such a doctrine. His trust 
was in the "autonomy of man" and the "death of God." He believed 
the only good in the world came from man's "will to power." And his 
contribution to the world was a disciple named Adolph Hitler! 

Dependence on God is easy to say but difficult to really do. Many 
trust him and depend on him as long as circumstances are prosperous 
and health is good. But true faith should be able to overcome our feel- 
ings when things are not going well. 

Christians must help one another in such times. Paul called upon 
the Corinthians in this letter to cooperate (Gr. sunupourgounton, 
"helping together with") by intercessory prayer in securing his 
deliverance through the hand of God for the work he still had to do. 
Paul believed the prayers of the Corinthians would contribute in some 
way to receiving an answer from God. While God could act whether 
we pray or not, he is a divine Father and knows that our relationship 
to him is deepened and made secure only when we are constant in our 
dependence upon him. Praying and receiving answers produces 
thanksgiving throughout the church. 



SECTION 2 
Acrimony (1:12-24) 

12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that 

20 



THE PROBLEM OF ADVERSITY 

we have behaved in the world, and still more toward you, with 
holiness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the 
grace of God. 13 For we write you nothing but what you can read 
and understand; I hope you will understand fully, 14 as you have 
understood in part, that you can be proud of us as we can be of 
you, on the day of the Lord Jesus. 

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so 
that you might have a double pleasure; 16 1 wanted to visit you on 
my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from 
Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. I7 Was I 
vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans like a 
worldly man, ready to say Yes and No at once? !8 As surely as 
God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For 
the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, 
Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is 
always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. 
That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of 
God. 21 But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and 
has commissioned us; 22 he has put his seal upon us and given us 
his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 

23 But I call God to witness against me— it was to spare you 
that I refrained from coming to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it 
over your faith; we work with you for your joy, for you stand 
firm in your faith. 



1:12-14 Suspicion: Every preacher of the gospel will have to en- 
dure, sometime or another, the acrimony of some of the members of 
his "flock". Jesus did (see John 15:18-27). Paul did — he is defending 
himself against the rancor and ill will of some of the Corinthians here. 
This is almost an inevitable hazard of the ministry of the gospel. It cer- 
tainly should not be so. Jesus poured out his heart in prayer that it not 
be so (John 17:1 f f) . But it is, and ministers of the gospel should not be 
"surprised" at it (see I Pet. 2:18-25; 4:12-19, etc.). Paul suffered 
suspicion and indifference from a number of the churches he 
established (Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Thessalonians). 

The Corinthians had communicated to Paul that they mistrusted 
his motives. They were suspicious of his relationship toward them 



21 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

because he had promised to visit them and did not. They were ques- 
tioning his integrity and his sincerity. They did not know, or 
disregarded, all the facts as to why he had not fulfilled his intention to 
visit and concluded that he was not dealing with them above board. 

Paul appeals to the record of his past life. He tells them it is a mat- 
ter of pride to him, endorsed (Gr. marturion, witnessed to) by his own 
conscience, that his behavior (Gr. anestraphemen, conduct, mode of 
life, literally — "to turn back in time") had been holy (Gr. hagioteti, 
upright, honest) and in godly sincerity (Gr. eilikrineia tou theou). He 
calls upon the Corinthians to investigate his past dealings both "in the 
world" and "toward them", and to judge his character on that basis. 
They would find that he behaved toward the world and toward them, 
not with a worldly attitude (Gr. sophia sarkike, wisdom of carnality), 
but in the grace of God (Gr. en chariti theou), that is, under the con- 
straint of God's grace toward him. In other words, Paul acted toward 
all people as God had acted toward him — with grace. Paul was con- 
strained by the love of Christ to always view all men as God viewed 
them (see II Cor. 5:14-17). 

Paul said, "I also take pride in the fact that 'we' (editorial 'we') 
are continuing to write to you nothing but what you can read and 
understand." He gave them no cause in his use of language to be 
suspicious of his intentions toward them. Paul uses the Greek word 
epiginoskete which means more than just knowing — it means to 
perceive, to understand. Paul had not come to them earlier (when he 
preached there, Acts 18; and when he wrote them before, I Cor.) with 
sophistries, double entendres, and euphemisms. His words were sim- 
ple, plain, direct, logical and understandable, (cf. I Cor. 2:1-5). He 
did not speak in "myths, endless genealogies. . . speculations. . . 
godless chatter, and contradictions of what is falsely called 
knowledge. . . " (see I Tim. 4:7; 6:20-21; II Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:13-14; 
II Pet. 1:16-21). Paul did not tell many allegories or use many illustra- 
tions. He was clear and straight to the point. His objective was to 
communicate, to produce understanding. There was no way the Cor- 
inthians could honestly accuse him of trying to disguise his motives or 
his intentions in what he had preached or written to them. So why are 
some of them now jumping to the conclusion that Paul has 
misrepresented himself to them? There were probably some in the 
Corinthian church still promoting the divisions, giving allegiance to 



22 



THE PROBLEM OF ADVERSITY 

different apostles and leaders, who wanted to take advantage of 
Paul's failure to visit them and cast suspicion on his integrity. That is 
one of the chief tools of those who promote partyism in the church. 

The apostle concludes this thought by saying, "My hope is that 
you will understand 'us' completely (as you have partially understood 
'us') and realize that you can be as proud of 'us' as 'we' shall be of 
you on the day of the Lord Jesus." 

Christian people need to concentrate on being sincere, loving, and 
understandable. Unity in the body of Christ is dependent, to a large 
degree, on understanding. Feelings, motives, intentions, opinions, 
aims and aspirations should be clearly and lovingly communicated. 
Covert, disguised, surreptitious language and actions should not be a 
part of christian relationships. 

1:15-22 Slander: Someone had evidently slandered Paul and ac- 
cused him of instability and untrustworthiness. Paul had first told the 
Corinthians he would visit them "after passing through Macedonia" 
(I Cor. 16:5). Later, perhaps in the unpreserved letter (the "severe" 
third letter — see Introduction), he mentioned that he wanted to visit 
them twice; once on the way to Macedonia, and once on the return 
from Macedonia. Paul implies here that the Corinthians knew of this 
last plan and that he had not fulfilled his promised visits. 

Paul writes that because he was "sure" of the mutual understand- 
ing and confidence existing between him and the Corinthians, he had 
been intending (Gr. eboulomen, perfect tense, continuous action in 
past time) to make a "double" visit so they might have a double 
"grace" of God through the fellowship of an apostle of the Lord. 
That was what he had been planning. But he decided against it. He im- 
plies that God revealed to him he should not make this "double" visit 
(II Cor. 1:23). God knew some of the Corinthians would think Paul 
was "lording it over their faith" should he visit them as he planned. 
To spare them that problem, Paul changed his plans. And when he 
changed his plans, someone at Corinth assailed his integrity and ac- 
cused him of vacillating (Gr. elaphria, lightness, fickleness). 

He begins the defense of his character by asking the rhetorical 
question, expecting a negative answer, "I was not vacillating when I 
determined to do this, was I?" Apparently some had accused Paul of 
making promises like worldly-minded (Gr. kata sarka, according to 
flesh) heathen, irresolute, erratic, indecisive. He challenges them to 



23 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

produce evidence from his manner of life that he is unreliable or 
double-minded. He always kept his word — he was never guilty of do- 
ing just what was convenient or expedient for himself. He never said 
"yes" from one side of his mouth and "no" from the other side. He 
always said what he meant and meant what he said! He fully intended 
to keep his word to visit them twice. It was not his indecision that kept 
him from fulfilling his plan, but God's divine direction! 

As Stedman points out, it is significant that Paul did not say, "Yes 
or No." It is not wrong to say "No" to some requests and cir- 
cumstances. What is wrong is to say "Yes and No," or to equivocate. 
It is wrong to say "No" and mean "Yes" or to say "Yes" and mean 
"No" ! Christians are to be honest, firm and unequivocal toward their 
commitments, whether they are "Yes" or "No." Jesus taught that his 
followers were to be so definite and unambiguous when they gave 
their word that the rest of the world would accept their "Yes" as 
nothing but "Yes," and their "Nay" as nothing but "No" (Matt. 
5:37 and see James 5:12). 

Christians are to be people who keep their word because that is the 
essence of God's character. This is Paul's argument in verse 18. God 
keeps his word (Deut. 7:9; Psa. 119:89-90; Isa. 55:10-11; I Cor. 1:9; 
10:13; II Thess. 3:3; Heb. 6:13-20, etc.). Paul is arguing that it is con- 
trary to the regenerated nature of a Christian to deliberately 
equivocate because it is contrary to the nature of God. The record of 
Jesus' life and words in the four Gospels verify that God keeps his 
word because God Incarnate (Jesus) always fulfilled his words. Not 
one word of Jesus (except the prophecies of his second advent) have 
failed to be fulfilled. The absoluteness of Jesus' words and actions is 
what Paul is referring to in verse 19. Whatever Jesus promised (or 
promises) was always answered with an absolute "Yes"! 

The ultimate "Yes" of God was the resurrection of Jesus Christ 
from the dead. The resurrection of Christ was the supreme, une- 
qualable, veracity of God manifested in the historical frame of 
reference. All of God's promises (from Genesis to Revelation) find 
their verification or ratification in Christ's historical, bodily, resurrec- 
tion from the dead. This is what the apostle means in verse 20. We 
believe this is also what Paul meant when he wrote in Hebrews 6:17, 
"So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the 
promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he interposed 



24 



THE PROBLEM OF ADVERSITY 

(himself) with an oath. . . . " In other words, God's oath to verify the 
immutability of his promises, was himself (incarnate in Jesus Christ) 
upon the cross and raised from the dead! 

Because of the veracity of God demonstrated historically in the 
ultimate historical act of raising Jesus from the dead, men may have 
assurance and respond with "Amen" (so-be-it, yes, verily, I 
agree, that is correct) to every promise of God. There is no word in the 
Greek text for the English word utter, however, it is proper to supply 
that word in a translation because Paul is here talking about man's 
response to God's faithfulness. God's absolute faithfulness is properly 
responded to when man is faithful to keep his own word. Saying 
"Amen" to God's veracity involves more than mere words — it 
demands action. Paul is arguing that his own manner of life has 
demonstrated this. 

In summation of the defense of his veracity and integrity Paul ap- 
peals to the guarantee or the "seal" of God's Spirit. Every christian 
should be able to appeal to the "seal" of God's Spirit as a guarantee 
of his godly character. That is because every christian is being 
transformed into the image of God's Son by the power of God's word 
transforming his mind (see Rom. 8:5, 29; 12; 1-2; II Cor. 3:18; Eph. 
1:13-14). To be "sealed" by God's Spirit is simply to have God's im- 
age imprinted upon our character or nature (see Special Study, Bless- 
ing of Being Sealed by The Holy Spirit).' 

There is nothing mystical or extra-Biblical about the "seal" of the 
Spirit of God. In ancient times, a sovereign's "seal" marked 
documents and objects with the authority of the sovereign. In other 
words, such documents were authenticated as belonging to the king by 
the seal stamped upon them. The seal was usually an engraving made 
in the likeness or image of the king. In the same way, God acting upon 
the believer's nature through the divine word of the Spirit, has en- 
graved his image (see Special Study, Blessing of Being Sealed by The 
Holy Spirit). When a believer loves God and obeys God, then the 
Spirit of God (in the word of God) bears witness with the spirit of the 
believer that he is a child of God (see Rom. 8:12-17). WilliamJBarclay 
says it this way, "When Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit as an arrabon 
(guarantee) given us by God, he means that the kind of life we live by 
the help of the Holy Spirit is the first installment of the life of heaven 
and the guarantee that the fullness of that life will some day open 



25 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



upon US. 

In this context, then, Paul is inviting the Corinthians to compare 
his past manner of life toward them with the witness of the Holy Spirit 
in the word of God and test his veracity. He expects to be declared 
faithful because his life is "sealed" (marked, measured, character- 
ized) by the Spirit of God. 

1:23-24 Statement: Paul does not return slander for slander. He 
makes an honest, open statement of reasons he believes will justify his 
rearrangement of plans to visit Corinth. First, he implies God will ap- 
prove of his change of plan — he calls God to witness against him 
should he be guilty of lying. It may be he is even implying that God 
gave him divine direction in refraining from visiting Corinth as he had 
planned. Second, whether it was God's or Paul's decision, or both, it 
was to "spare" the Corinthians something unpleasant. Rebuke and 
discipline is always unpleasant (cf. Heb. 12:11) for the moment. 
Sometimes, it may even be unprofitable! Paul always tried to find 
things in christians to praise. He used criticism and rebuke as little as 
possible. The less a teacher or preacher uses rebuke, the more effective 
it is when absolutely necessary. He had already rebuked them severely 
in the letter we do have (I Corinthians) and probably in a letter or visit 
for which we have no extant record. So Paul decided against carrying 
out his earlier plan to visit Corinth on the way to Macedonia, because, 
as things stood between them another visit (which would undoubtedly 
call for more correction) could only have hurt him and them (see II 
Cor. 2:1-4). 

Second, Paul explained his change of plans by stating he did not 
want to give any appearance of lording it over the Corinthians. He 
could have visited them as planned, asserted his authority, criticized 
publicly their christian immaturity, and handed down apostolic 
reprimands and edicts. But he wanted to spare them that. That was the 
way "false apostles" acted (II Cor. 11:12-13; Gal. 2:4; II Pet. 2:10 — 
22; Rev. 2:2). True apostles admonished tenderly, always willing to 
sacrifice self for the sake of the "flock" (I Cor. 4:14-15). 

Thus Paul explained his decision not to carry out his original plan 
to visit the Corinthians and defended his veracity. His reasons for not 
fulfilling the original intention are righteous and good because they 
were to the advantage of the Corinthians and not for Paul. 

One of the major problems in the ministry of the gospel is this one 



26 



THE PROBLEM OF ADVERSITY 

of fulfilling promises. Preachers, elders, Sunday School teachers, and 
other servants of the Lord sometimes make promises to do something 
for someone or be somewhere at sometime when they do not intend to 
keep those promises at all. Promises to lend assistance, visit, attend a 
meeting, write a letter, or pray for someone should not be made flip- 
pantly or insincerely! No christian, especially a minister of the gospel, 
should promise unless he intends to keep his word. Any promise 
broken should be able to be justified only by the same principles Paul 
justified his — that not fulfilling the promise would benefit the red-, 
pient more than fulfilling it. The christian minister's "yea" must be 
"yea" and his "nay" must be "nay" — he must be a man faithful to 
his word. 



APPREHENSION: 

1. Who wrote II Corinthians? 

2. When did he write it? 

3 . What transpired in his relationship to the Corinthians between the 
two epistles from his pen? 

4. What does the word "comfort" mean in the Biblical sense? 

5. Did the Lord Jesus have to suffer "affliction"? Why? 

6. How much affliction did Paul suffer? Can you recite his afflic- 
tions? 

7. Does the Bible say "affliction" or suffering is part of the christian 
calling? Where? 

8. How severe was Paul's affliction mentioned in II Corinthians ch. 
1? 

9. If Paul's extremity in this chapter refers to the riot in Ephesus 
(Acts 19), how did God deliver him? 

10. Why was Paul having to defend his veracity in this letter? 

1 1 . How did Paul defend his veracity? 



APPLICATION: 

1. How would the leadership of the church (preachers, elders, 
deacons and Sunday School teachers) benefit from taking this 



27 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



4. 



5. 



book to heart? 

2. How do you feel about the Biblical teaching that the aim of adver- 
sity and affliction is to strengthen? 

3. Are you able to surrender your feelings about affliction to the 
teaching of the Bible? Is it easy? 

Does it help you to know that Jesus and Paul and other christians 
struggle in their faith and feelings over affliction? 
Have the afflictions you experienced made you better able to serve 
Christ and others? In what way? 

6. Should christians get depressed? Does depression mean absence 
of faith? 

7. When are you aware of your greatest feelings of strength? 

8. Have you ever had people suspect your veracity and integrity? 
How did you deal with it? 

9. Should christians always try to make sure their words are clearly 
understood? Do they? 

10. When a christian promises something, is he obligated to keep his 
word? How good is your word? 

What should a christian do if he has promised something he can- 
not possibly fulfill because of an emergency or circumstances 
beyond his control? 

Upon what do you base your belief that God will keep all his pro- 
mises? 



11 



12 



28 



Special Study 

Blessing of being Sealed By The holy Spirit 
(Eph. 1:13-14) 



INTRODUCTION 

I. CONTEXTUALLY 

A. These two verses combine to form one of great "spiritual 
blessings" God has blessed us with in Christ 

1 . Paul lays two huge sentences on the Ephesian church in 
chapter one 

2. The first sentence 1:3-14 is a catalog of all the ways in 
which God has blessed christians in Christ 

3. The second sentence 1:15-23 is Paul's prayer that these 
christians may know (understand and experience) those 
blessings. 

B. Paul did not place all this "breathtaking" stress upon 
spiritual blessings without reason 

1. Spiritual blessings are not contingent upon favorable 
physical circumstances and are available to all believers 
alike 

2. Spiritual blessings thus have to do with the abiding 
realities, not the temporary trappings of the flesh. 

3. Spiritual blessings supply man's most desperate need — 
to be remade into the person God intended him to be — 
this will be the thrust of these two verses this morning. 

II. EXEGETICALLY 

A. Reading these two verses in the Greek text is an interesting ex- 
perience. 
1 . Literally it would read something like this: 

"In Him also, you, the ones having heard the word, that 
one of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, irii Him 
also, you, the ones having believed, were sealed (passive) 
with Spirit, the promised one, the holy one, who fs the 
down-payment of our inheritance until the redemption 
which will give complete possession unto the praise of His 
glory." 



29 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

2. The Berkeley Version is also interesting here: 

"In Him you also, after listening to the message of the 
truth, the Gospel of our salvation, have as believers in 
Him been stamp marked with the promised Holy Spirit, 
who is the pledge-deposit of our legacy for the releasing 
of our deed of purchase, and all to the praise of His 
glory." 

III. ETYMOLOGICALLY 

A. Seal - literal sense: "A device bearing a design, a name or 
some other words so made that it can impart an impression in 
relief upon a soft substance like clay or wax. When the clay or 
wax hardens, it permanently bears the impression of the 
seal." 

1. Archaeologists find them being used 4000 B.C. 

2. Originally they took the form of a cylinder, gradually 
superseded by the scarab (beetle-shaped) 

3 . Some carried on cords around neck like necklace; some 
cone-shaped in boxes; most in form of finger-rings 

B. Seal - uses 

1. As an authentication 

2. As a mark of ratification of a covenant 

3. As a means of protecting documents to seal against 
tampering 

4. As a deputation of authority 

5 . As an official mark of ownership 

IV. APPLICABILITY - Three areas of blessing for the christian in 
having been sealed with the promised holy Spirit. 

A. He Etches the Image of God and His Son Upon our Being 

B. He Gives Us the Earnest-Payment of Our Inheritance 

C. He Empowers Us As Emissaries of our Great God 



Discussion 

I. ETCHES THE IMAGE OF GOD UPON OUR BEING 
A. Authenticates our genuineness as belonging to Him 

1. "The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that 
we are children of God . . ." Rom. 8:16. 



30 



BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

2. Does not say that the Holy Spirit bears witness to our 
spirit but with our spirit — summarturei; the H.S. bears 
witness — and our own spirit bears witness. 

3. If my spirit says I am a child of God, and the testimony 
of the Holy Spirit shows that I am not a child of God, 
then I am not a child no matter what my spirit says. The 
two witnesses must agree. My spirit must agree with the 
testimony of the Holy Spirit. 

4. This co-witness of the Spirit of God with our spirit, 
whereby we are assured that we are children of God, is a 
very important and blessed reality. BUT IT HAS BEEN 
SO OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD AND MISINTER- 
PRETED. 

5. How does the Spirit bear witness with our spirit? A still 
small voice? A feeling? emotion? impulse? The Bible 
nowhere affirms such leadings! All people and religious 
denominations who claim such subjective witness, of the 
Holy Spirit not only contradict one another — they con- 
tradict the Bible. The Bible claims to be the witness of the 
Spirit. The Spirit of God does not contradict Himself. 

6. Since there are no inspired men living today — and those 
who claim to be such contradict the word of God in what 
is His witness about who are the children of God — the 
only witness which we have of the Spirit to us is found in 
His written Word. No one knows the Spirit's will on any 
subject unless he has learned it from the written Word. 
Anything that claims to be the Holy Spirit's teaching 
must not contradict this! 

7. The Spirit of God lays down the terms by which we 
become a child of God, and when we believe and obey 
these terms then both the Holy Spirit and our own spirits 
testify that we are the sons of God. 

8. WHAT A BLESSING TO HAVE SUCH A SEAL PUT 
UPON OUR MINDS AND HEARTS ... WE DO NOT 
HAVE TO DEPEND UPON FICKLE AND 
VACILLATING EMOTIONS AND 
FEELINGS . . . NOR UPON THE WHIMS AND OPI- 
NIONS OF MEN BECAUSE OUR SALVATION IS 



31 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

AUTHENTICATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT HIM- 
SELF IN HIS UNCHANGING, ONCE-FOR-ALL 
WORD ... NO GUESSING, NO ANXIETY. 

9. "These things have I written unto you, that ye may know 
that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the 
name of the Son of God" I John 5:13 THIS IS THE EM- 
PHATIC WORD OF JOHN'S WRITINGS . . ."THAT 
YE MAY KNOW. ..." 
B. Glorifies (The H.S. transfers some of the glory of God to our 

nature) 

1. "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror 
the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same im- 
age from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the 
Spirit" II Cor. 3:18. 

2. Alexander Campbell said it this way in his Christian ' 
System "The work of redemption is a system of works, 
or deeds, on the part of God, which constitute the most 
splendid series of moral facts men or angel ever 
saw. . . . When these facts are understood or brought in- 
to immediate contact with the mind of man, as a moral 
seal, they delineate the image of God upon the human 
soul. All the means of grace are, therefore, only the 
means of impressing this seal upon the heart, of bringing 
these moral facts to make their full impression on the 
soul of man. The testimony of the Holy Spirit through 
the apostles and the faith of those who believe and obey 
this testimony are the channel through which these facts, 
or the hand of God, draws the image on the heart and 
character of man." He went on to say . . . "all the moral 
facts which can form moral character after the divine 
model, or which can effect a moral or religious change in 
man, are found in the testimony of God." 

3 . What is this image of God . . . this glory of God which is 
impressed or sealed upon our being? The fruit of the 
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. 

4. I submit these as characteristics of God which we can en- 
joy as blessings if we will allow the Holy Spirit to impress 



32 



BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

them upon our natures: honesty; goodness; creativeness; 
humor; appreciativeness; enjoyment; giving-ness 

5. Carol King has a phrase in her song, Way Over Yonder, 
"And the sweet-tasting good life is so easily 
found . . . way over yonder, that's where I'm bound." 
Let's appropriate that here. 

THE SWEET-TASTING GOOD LIFE OF GOD IS 
EASILY FOUND ... IF WE JUST LET THE SPIRIT 
ETCH IT UPON OUR BEING BY KNOWING AND 
DOING WHERE THE SPIRIT LEADS IN THE 
SPIRITS WORD. 

6. You see, this is the work of the Spirit. God the Father is. 
the creative source of blessing; the Son is the revealer of 
the possibility of such blessedness and obtainer of it in 
the flesh; the Holy Spirit is the agent by which this bless- 
ing may be impressed or sealed upon the nature of man! 
HOW MIND STAGGERING! GOD CREATES THE 
BLESSING, THE SON WINS IT FOR US, THE HOLY 
SPIRIT TRANSFERS AND SEALS IT UPON THOSE 
WHO WILL ACCEPT IT BY FAITH! 

Secures and protects us against being defrauded by the thief 
of souls 

1. When we are sealed by the H.S. we can live confidently 
that there is no power in this world or the other capable 
of robbing us of our souls, our life, our being. 

2. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they 
follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall 
never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my 
hand." John 10:27-28 

3. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and 
believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not 
come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." 
John 5:24 

4. "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things 
that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid 
with Christ in God." Col. 3:2-3 

5. "Little children, you are of God, and have overcome 
them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the 



33 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

world." I John 4:4 

6. "We know that any one born of God does not sin, but He 
who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does 
not touch him." I John 5:18 

7. The book of Revelation pictorializes a great host which 
no man can number sealed by God — protected from the 
dragon and the beasts not able to be overcome by the 
great spiritual battle that rages between God and His 
enemies. 

8. WHAT A TREMENDOUS BLESSING TO KNOW 
THAT WE HAVE HAD THE SEAL OF GOD PUT 
UPON US. NO MATTER THE WORLD WANTS TO 
ERADICATE US ... NO MATTER THAT IT MAY 
APPEAR AS IF THE FORCES OF UNGODLINESS 
WILL WIN THE STRUGGLE . . . GOD KNOWS 
WHO HIS ARE, HE HAS THEM MARKED AND 
SEALED, AND THEY ARE SECURE! 

II. HE GIVES US AN EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE 
A. Holiness 

1 . What is the legacy left us by that Son of man who came to 
earth, born in a stable, who had not where to lay his 
head? 

2. He brought us word from our Father that holiness is our 
legacy. The most needful, most enjoyable treasure God 
could will to us is holiness 

3. What is the deepest longing of the human soul? To be 
clean, to be good, to be pure, to be true, to be a beautiful- 
person. 

4. This is what I want when I get to God. Bags full or banks 
full of gold and diamonds are not what my soul cries out 
for. Ivory palaces and mansions are not what I want for 
my eternal inheritance. I WANT, I NEED, I MUST 
HAVE HOLINESS! 

5. "I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in 
my flesh. I can will what is right but I cannot do it. For I 
do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is 
what I do. . . . Wretched man that I am! Who will 
deliver me from this body of death? . . . There is 



34 



,1 



BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

therefore now no condemnation for those who are in 
Christ Jesus." Rom. 7:18-8:1 

6. Now God has taken care of my problem. He has provided 
me a cleansing, a goodness, a purity, a freedom from 
guilt, a holiness by the death of His Son. And when He 
comes for us this is what our great inheritance shall be — 
we shall be like Him. 

7. But when we are sealed by the Holy Spirit — when His 
spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are a child of 
God, we have a down payment on this holiness already. 
WE CAN NOW ENJOY GOODNESS, FREEDOM 
FROM GUILT, PURITY, HOLINESS — A TASTE OF 
WHAT THE FULL INHERITANCE WILL BE! 

8. Neither the real nor the pseudo (alleged) baptism of the 
Holy Spirit has anything to do with the sealing of the 
H.S. The baptism of the H.S. fell upon Cornelius before 
the two spirits could witness with one another that he was 
a child of God. He had not yet been baptized in water for 
the remission of sins. In like manner the baptism of the 
H.S. had nothing to do with providing him with a down- 
payment on his inheritance for neither baptism in the 
H.S. nor spiritual gifts imparted holiness (Judas). SO 
WHY ALL THIS MAJORING IN THE MINORS? THE 
GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT ARE NOT WHERE IT'S AT! 
NEITHER REAL NOR ALLEGED! 



B. Rest 



1 . Another aspect of the legacy left to us is rest. Jesus came 
and said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy 
laden and I will give you rest" Matt. 11:28. 

2. What makes work into labor? The frustration of seeing 
the fruits of one's work dissipated — the agony of know- 
ing that one has spent himself laboring in something 
whose fruits are only temporary and ultimately useless. 
THIS IS WHAT MAKES WORK INTO TIRING, 
FRUSTRATING, DEADENING LABOR. 

3. If the results of our work could find completion or 
perfection — if we could have confirmed to us that our 
work was eternally useful and abiding, that it wouldn't 



35 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

just disappear with time — we could find perfect rest. 
REST IS NOT JUST THE ABSENCE OF WORK! 

4. God has laid up for us an inheritance of rest. "Blessed 
are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth, says the 
Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their 
deeds follow them" Rev. 14:13. 

5. But those sealed by the Holy Spirit may now have a 
down-payment, a taste of that rest. Paul wrote the 
Hebrew christians and said, "For we who are believing, 
are entering that rest . . ." Heb. 4:3. 

6. Jesus said, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, 
but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the 
Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the 
Father set his seal" John 6:27. 

7. Paul wrote the Corinthians, "Therefore, my beloved 
brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in 
the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your 
labor is not in vain" I Cor. 15:58. 

8. Friend, if you're sealed by the Holy Spirit, you'll never 
get weary. Bone-tired and muscle-weak yes — but soul- 
tired and spirit-weary, never! 

Dominion 

1. Man was made to have dominion. "Then God said, Let 
us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let 
them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the 
birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, 
and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" 
Gen. 1:26. 

2. God has promised that one day His saints shall reign with 
His Christ forever and ever. Rev. 22:5, etc. 

3. But the blessing of being sealed by the Holy Spirit is that 
we may now enjoy a taste of that dominion. 

4. The exciting second chapter of Hebrews asks, "What is 
man that thou are mindful of him?" and answers by 
showing that while man was created to have dominion, 
because of sin he does not now have it, but Christ came in 
flesh and blood and won back man's dominion for him. 
HE DEFEATED THE INVADER, SATAN! 



36 



BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

5. Christ, if we believe and trust Him, has set us free from 
being dominated by circumstances, by earthly things, by 
ego, by fears, by falsehoods, by others, by even Satan. IN 
FACT, IN CHRIST, WE HAVE DOMINION OVER 
CIRCUMSTANCES, OVER THINGS, OVER 
EVERYTHING AND MAY ENJOY AND USE 
EVERYTHING TO GLORIFY GOD! Mind you, I did 
not say we can selfishly take anything we want and use it 
in a way to bring shame upon God. 

6. Whatever circumstances God sees fit to give us here, 
whatever talents, whatever worldly things, whatever 
associations, WE ARE RULERS-OVER TO GLORIFY 
GOD AND REJOICE IN. . . . 

7. "For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or 
Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the 
future, all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is 
God's." I Cor. 3:21-22 

8. "... in all these things we are more than conquerors 
through him who loved us." Rom. 8:37 

ALL THINGS ARE YOURS — MORE THAN CON- 
QUERORS! What blessedness — what happiness — 
what glory. Friend, if you've been sealed with the imprint 
of God's Holy Spirit, you have been certified and 
authorized to be a joint heir with His Son, and to have 
dominion with Him. 
III. EMPOWERS US AS EMISSARIES OF OUR GREAT GOD 
A. Certifies us as authentic representatives of Almighty God 

1. When the Spirit of the Holy God is etched upon our 
hearts . . . when we are sealed with the Spirit of 
Christ ... it is an announcement to the world that we 
are on business for the King. 

2. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one 
another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one 
another. By this all men will know that you are My 
disciples, if you have love for one another." John 
13:34-35 

3. J.B. Phillips on II Corinthians 3:3 "You are an open let- 
ter (epistle) about Christ which we ourselves have written, 



37 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

not with pen and ink but with the Spirit of the living God. 
Our message has been engraved not in stone, but in living 
men and women." 

4. Many false prophets have gone out into the world (I John 
4:1-6). The world desperately needs some authenticating 
mark upon the true prophets. That mark is the seal of the 
Holy Spirit. One who preaches the true apostolic message 
and one who lives the true apostolic message. 

5. "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of 
Mine" John 8:31 IF YOU ARE SEALED BY HIS 
SPIRIT THROUGH HIS WORD, THEN YOU ARE A 
CERTIFIED DISCIPLE OF HIS, AND THE WHOLE 
WORLD WILL KNOW . . . YOU WILL BE HAPPY 
AND BLESSED AND SO WILL OTHERS! 

Certifies the authority of our message 

1 . When the image of God is stamped upon us by the Holy 
Spirit, we will proclaim and live the truth and the power 
of His truth preached and lived will be vindicated in the 
world. 

2. The work of the Holy Spirit is to convince the world of 
sin, righteousness and the judgment. The only agency by 
which the Spirit works in doing this is the written, preach- 
ed and lived Word of God. 

3. But in the midst of all the failures and inadequacies of 
men's philosophical, political and ethical systems, 
THOSE SEALED BY THE SPIRIT ARE CONDUC- 
TORS OF THE GREATEST POWER IN THE 
UNIVERSE. 

4. The power to convert men and change their eternal 
destiny is more awesome than the power to create this 
universe! 

5. "His divine power has granted to us all things that per- 
tain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him 
who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which 
he had granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
that through these you may escape from the corruption 
that is in the world because of passion, and become par- 
takers of the divine nature" II Pet. 1:3-4. 



38 



BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

6. ' 'For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a 
worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not 
worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 
We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the 
knowledge of God, and take very thought captive to obey 
Christ ..." II Cor. 10:3-5. 

WHAT A BLESSING TO KNOW THAT WE ARE 
SEALED BY HIS SPIRIT TO BECOME CHANNELS 
THROUGH WHICH THE AWESOME POWER OF 
HIS WORD WORKS . . . AND IT SHALL NEVER 
RETURN UNTO HIM VOID! 
C. Certifies the power of His divine providence on our behalf 

1. When the nature of God is etched upon our minds 
through the Holy Spirit's agent, the Word of God, we 
know God as our beneficent, loving, acting, Father who 
is ready to use all His creation on our behalf. 

2. "We know that God works everything for good for those 
who love him, and are called according to his purpose" 
Rom 8:28. 

3. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly 
above all that we ask or think, according to the power 
that worketh in us . . ." Eph. 3:20. 

4. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, 
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory . . ." II Cor. 4:17. 

5. Even angels "are ministering spirits, sent forth to 
minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" Heb. 
1:14. 

6. The O.T. gives us a vivid account of god's providential 
power being used for those with His mark upon them. 
Ezekiel ch. 9 pictures God's faithful ones being marked 
with His seal upon them. Then the book of Daniel shows 
God using kings, kingdoms, circumstances and creation 
to provide exactly and abundantly what those marked by 
Him must have to fulfill His purpose in their lives. 

7. He is the same God today to those with His seal upon 
them. THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS HIS 
MESSAGE THAT HE IS EVEN NOW USING KINGS 



39 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

AND KINGDOMS, CIRCUMSTANCES AND CREA- 
TION TO SERVE HIS SEALED ONES! WHAT 
POWER AND WHAT POWERS ARE OURS! 



Conclusion 

I. SO THE BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY 
SPIRIT 

A. Etches the Image of God Upon Our Being 

B. Gives Us the Earnest-Payment of Our Inheritance 

C. Empowers Us as Emissaries of our Great God 

II. A WARNING 

A. You are either sealed by the Holy Spirit or marked with the 
mark of the beast. 

1 . The great division of mankind in the book of Revelation 
is between only two kinds of humanity . . . those with 
the mark of God upon their foreheads, and those with the 
mark of the beast. 

2. Satan puts his mark upon all those not sealed by the Holy 
Spirit. 

3. Jesus told the Jews in John 8 who wanted to kill Him 
because He told them the truth, "You are of your father 
the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires." 

4. The seal or mark of Satan is the "mark of the beast" in 
Revelation and is given to those who worship the beast, 
political and military power; those who worship the false 
prophet, false religion and doctrine; those worship the 
harlot, worldliness, carnal -mindedness. 

B. Satan can even counterfeit the seal of the Holy Spirit; 

1 . The beast and the false prophet are able to work signs 
(false signs) that will deceive men and women if they do 
not know what the true sealing of the Holy Spirit is 

2. Satan is able to change himself into an angel of light to 
deceive the ignorant 

3. He will try to deceive us, into thinking that the immature, 
temporary miracles of the Holy Spirit are the seal of God 

4. He will try to deceive us into thinking that Pharisaic at- 



40 



BLESSING OF BEING SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

titudes toward works and self-righteousness are the seal 
of God 

III. BUT WHAT IS THE SEAL? 

A. How do we know we are sealed by the Holy Spirit? 

B. How do we know others are sealed by the Holy Spirit? 

C. As we said at the beginning, When the Holy Spirit bears 
witness with our spirits 

D. But what does the Holy Spirit witness? 

E. Very simply, He bears witness in His Word that those Believ- 
ing, Repenting and Obeying God are sealed by God as His 

IV. NOW WILL YOU JOIN ME IN THIS SONG AS A PRAYER 
TO GOD FOR HIS SEALING 

Just the first stanza and chorus 175 
"O to be like Thee! Blessed Redeemer: 
This is my constant longing and prayer; 
Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures, 
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. 
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee! 
blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art; 
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy full-ness; 
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart. 



41 



Chapter Two 

The Problem of Loneliness 
(2:1-17) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. What "pain" was Paul reluctant to cause the Corinthians? 

2. Who is the "one" who had caused pain both to Paul and the 
church? 

3. What are the "designs" of Satan about which we should not be ig- 
norant? 

4. What "aroma" do christians become to God? 

5. Who are "peddlers of God's word"? What's wrong with "ped- 
dling" it? 



Section 1 

Discord (2:1-11) 

For I made up my mind not to make you another painful 
Z visit. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad 
but the one whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that 
when I came I might not suffer pain from those wfio should have 
made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would 
be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote you out of much affliction and 
anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but 
to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. 

5 But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, 
but in some measure — not to put it too severely — to you all. 6 For 
such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; 7 so you 
should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be 
overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your 
love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and 
know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Any one whom 
you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have 
forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of 
Christ, "to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for 



43 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

we are not ignorant of his designs. 

2:1-4 Pain: The pain of discord among christian brethren is severe, 
This is especially true when a preacher (like Paul) suffers the aliena- 
tion of any part of his congregation. A person (or persons) in the 
church at Corinth had been attacking Paul's integrity. They had also 
been causing divisions in the church (see Background notes in this 
commentary). Paul had made a visit to Corinth (see chart, Corinthian 
Correspondence and Visits, pp. 57-61) to resolve this estrangement and 
it was "painful." The Greek word translated painful is lupo and 
means "grieve." It was a grief-filled experience. Paul knew the pain 
and loneliness of having brethren alienate themselves against their 
"father in the faith." Apparently the "visit" did not produce the har- 
mony Paul desired — especially with one person. So he sat down and 
wrote a "severe" letter (II Cor. 2:3-9; 7:8-12) directing the church to 
discipline the troublemaker. 

The apostle did all he felt the Lord would want him to do to 
resolve the situation. He determined he would not make another pain- 
ful visit. If he goes on inflicting pain and causing the christians there 
to grieve, who will be there to make him glad? He does intend to make 
another visit to Corinth but he wants it to be a happy occasion. Paul 
was tender-hearted and would acknowledge that when he "pained" 
the Corinthians, he would hurt too. All he would get back from pain- 
ing them was pain. And his desire to keep from causing them sorrow 
was because he loved them so dearly. 

What a lovely picture he humbly paints of himself in 2:4. The 
"severe" letter he wrote after returning from his "painful visit" was 
written with "much affliction and anguish of heart" and through 
tear-dimmed eyes. What an example for preachers today who may 
suffer without warrant the alienation and "trouble-making" of cer- 
tain members of the flock! With Paul there is no defensiveness, no 
resentment, no desire to retaliate. There is much distress, 
much anxiety and much crying. Everything done (visits and letters) 
was done out of abundant love. 

From the very beginning of the "trouble" in Corinth, Paul felt the 
loneliness and pain of their alienation. He wanted it resolved. He got 
no thrill or satisfaction out of stirring up the situation or prolonging it 
or intensifying it. Anxiety for all the churches was a constant thing 



44 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 

with Paul (see II Cor. 11:28-29). The "pain" any of the brethren suf- 
fered hurt Paul. The Corinthian brethren are not the only ones over 
whom Paul shed tears (see Acts 20:18-19). Some preachers are not 
able to endure the affliction, anguish, anxiety and tears of loneliness 
in the ministry. They quit the ministry. There is failure on the part of 
both congregation and preacher when "preacher burn-out" occurs. 
But if both congregation and preacher were willing to pattern their 
faith and obedience more on the examples of the New Testament, 
there would be less failure. 

2:5-11 Powerlessness: Before Paul wrote II Corinthians, he had 
found Titus in Macedonia (II Cor. 7:6-16) and Titus had reported en- 
couraging news from the church in Corinth. The worst between the 
church and Paul was over. Titus reported that the Corinthian brethren 
were "longing, mourning and zealous" for Paul. Nevertheless, he 
wrote the words of this text to caution the brethren about prolonging 
the discord and alienation lest it sap them of their spiritual power. 

Who is the "one" who has caused pain? Many commentators 
think this "one" is the incestuous man mentioned in I Corinthians 
5:1-8. Look at this characterization of the "one" who has caused 
pain: 

a. The Corinthians felt the person had caused pain only to Paul, but 
the apostle corrected them and said he had caused pain to the Cor- 
inthians as well, v. 5. 

b. The majority of the congregation had exercised some form of 
severe discipline upon the person, v. 6. 

c. Some of the congregation did not think the discipline was ade- 
quate, and were planning to extend it, thus prolonging the aliena- 
tion, v. 6. 

d. The person was in danger of being overwhelmed by excessive sor- 
row, v. 7. 

e. So Paul strongly urged the congregation to not prolong the 
punishment, but forgive, comfort and reaffirm their love for him, 
v. 7-8. 

f. He had written his former "severe" letter to them about this of- 
fender in order to test their obedience to apostolic authority, v. 9. 

g. Paul states he is willing to forgive the offender and that he 
forgives the man for the sake of the whole congregation in order 



45 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

to keep Satan from gaining an advantage over either Paul or the 
congregation at Corinth. 

In light of the fact that the Corinthians believed the pain caused by 
this offender was all Paul's fault (which they surely would not have 
believed in the case of the incestuous man of I Cor. 5:1-8), and in view 
of fact that the Corinthian congregation had not joined in the inflic- 
ting of punishment on the incestuous man but were indeed boasting of 
their liberality toward him, we believe the offending brother of this 
text (II Cor. 2:5-11) is not the incestuous man of I Corinthians 5:1-8. 

The context within which Paul discusses this "one who has caused 
pain" clearly indicates (II Cor. 1:15 — 2:17) the offender to be a 
ringleader of the bitter opposition against Paul's integrity and 
apostolic authority. 

The following is probably the sequence of events which led to 
Paul's admonition here: 



a. 



b. 



f. 



The schismatism and challenge to Paul's apostolic authority men- 
tioned in I Corinthians evidently intensified under the leadership 
of a ringleader who had singled out Paul for his verbal attacks. 
Paul made a quick, "painful" visit to the church but failed to 
resolve the alienation. 

Returning to Ephesus, Paul wrote a "painful" letter (not extant) 
directing the church to inflict some severe punishment (probably 
excommunication) upon the rebellious member, and thus reaffirm 
their obedience to apostolic authority. 

He then sent Titus to Corinth to discover and report back the con- 
dition of the church and the state of this problem. 
Titus did not return when Paul expected, so Paul went to Troas 
and Macedonia in search of Titus. 

Finding Titus in Macedonia, Paul received the report that the 
Corinthian congregation had severely disciplined the offender and 
reaffirmed their obedience to apostolic direction. 
Titus also reported that the offender was so contrite and penitent 
that he was in danger of being overwhelmed with excessive sor- 
row. He wanted to be reinstated to fellowship. 
The church, Titus reported, had refused to forgive the offender, 
probably thinking that to do so would be a sign of disloyalty to 



46 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 

Paul, 
i. Paul now sits down in Macedonia and writes to the Corinthians 
(II Cor. 2:5-11) begging them to forgive the man because to inten- 
sify and prolong the punishment will be to prolong the alienation, 
drive the offender to despair, and push both the offender and the 
congregation into the camp of Satan. 

There are a number of lessons to be learned and practiced from 
this apostolic pronouncement: 

a. When christians rebel against godly spiritual leaders and verbally 
attack them, their attacks bring grief upon the whole church of 
God as well as their leaders. 

b. It is the responsibility of the whole church to bring such rebellion 
to a resolution, even if severe discipline is necessary. 

c. If the offender repents and expresses desire to be reinstated in 
fellowship with the congregation, the congregation must forgive, 
comfort (strengthen) and love him. 

d. For there is a clear danger that severe spiritual discipline could 
cause a christian to be overwhelmed (Gr. katapothe, "swallowed 
up") with grief. 

e. The apostles expect the church to obey in everything taught by 
them. 

f. Not forgiving a penitent brother makes any christian vulnerable 
to Satan's designs. 

The words "gaining the advantage" are a translation of one Greek 
word, pleonektethomen. The Greek word is also translated, de- 
frauded, or wronged, or taken advantage of (see I Thess. 4:6; II Cor. 
7:2). It is the Greek word from which the word covetousness is deriv- 
ed. Literally, it means, "to get more of." Paul's warning is that the at- 
titude of unforgiveness makes christians vulnerable to being de- 
frauded by Satan. The devil can steal their soul just as surely for an 
unmerciful attitude as he can for impenitent adultery. This verse tells 
us that a church or an individual christian may be overcome by the evil 
one simply by failing to do right! We are easily deceived into believing 
that evil only has power over us when we do something wrong. But ac- 
cording to Paul (and Jesus in Luke 12:47-48; and James 4:17) 



47 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

righteousness is a positive way of life, not a negative one. Failure to do 
right is in itself the most common sin of christians. 

Paul states that christians are not ignorant of Satan's "designs." 
The Greek word noemata is from noema which means, "mind, 
thought, purpose." Paul believed in the existence of a real, personal 
devil whose purpose is to defraud and take advantage of God's people 
as well as prevent the salvation of the lost. But, the apostle declares, 
christians do not need to be defrauded — they may protect themselves 
against it — because they are not ignorant of the devil's thoughts and 
schemes. How may the christian know what the devil thinks and how 
he operates? By reading and believing the Bible, of course. Jesus ex- 
posed the devil's thinking and working in his confrontation with the 
him in the Judean wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11); in casting out demons 
(Matt. 12:22-37); in exposing the hatred of the Jewish rulers (John 
8:34-47). In the Acts, in the Epistles, in Revelation we are informed 
about how the devil thinks and acts. In the history of man's creation 
we are clearly instructed about Satan's purposes and practices (Gen. 
3:1-24). The apostle John tells us that only by listening to (heeding) 
the words of the apostles will we be able to know the difference be- 
tween the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (I John 4:1-6). There is 
only one way we may be certain that we are not ignorant of the devil's 
devices and that is to trust only what the Bible says about the devil. All 
other information purporting to be about the devil is suspect — 
whether from movies, religious crusaders against the occult, or 
teachers of Satanism. 

One of the primary schemes of the devil is to enlist church 
members in causing division and perpetuating alienation between 
brethren. In doing so he creates disorder, discouragement, excessive 
sorrow, loneliness, and eventually, destruction. Many a preacher has 
been destroyed through this Satanic assault from within the church 
itself! The devil uses "false brethren" who are brought in "secretly" 
to "spy out our freedom." They are legalists who want to enslave us 
again to the elemental things of the world (see Gal. 2:4; 4:8-10; Col. 
2:8-23, etc.). Satan will even misquote the Scripture to gain advantage 
over us (see Matt. 4:6). He will use everything God created for good 
(man's appetites, the law of God, human governments) in subtle, 
perverted ways to take advantage of us. The only way a human being 
can have the advantage over Satan is to dispel all ignorance of the 



48 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 

devil's designs by accepting only divinely revealed knowledge about 
him. 

Section 2 

Distance (2:12-13) 

12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, a 
door was opened for me in the Lord; 13 but my mind could not 
rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took 
leave of them and went on to Macedonia. 

2:12 No Communication: The record in Acts shows that Paul was 
in Troas on two different occasions, neither of which corresponds to 
the one he mentions here: 

a. His first visit to Troas as a christian was on his second missionary 
journey (Acts 16:6-10) where he had the vision of the man of 
Macedonia who said, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." 

b. On his third missionary journey he arrived in Ephesus (Acts 
19: Iff) wrote the epistle we know as I Corinthians; left Ephesus at 
the time of the riot (Acts 20:1) and evidently went first to Troas 
(II Cor. 2:12) in search of Titus, and thence to Macedonia where 
he sat down and wrote the epistle we know as II Corinthians. 

c. Then, still on his third missionary journey, he came to Troas from 
Philippi (Acts 20:1-12) where the disciples were gathered on the 
first day of the week to break bread and Paul preached to them 
until midnight, (see Chronology of the Apostolic Age, page 57-61. 

Troas was earlier named Alexandria Troas. It was located ten 
miles from the ruins of ancient Troy and founded by Lysimachus (one 
of Alexander the Great's generals) in 300 B.C. Troas was a Roman 
colony in the days of Caesar Augustus, and one of the most important 
cities of NW Asia. It was a port of call on the trade-route between 
Macedonia and Asia (Acts 16:8; 20:5; II Cor. 2:12). Titus would pro- 
bably disembark there on his way back to report to Paul from his mis- 
sion to Corinth. Paul was so eager to hear about the situation at Cor- 



49 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

inth he could not stay in Ephesus so he went to Troas hoping to meet 
Titus there. 

Paul had received no communication from Corinth. He really 
cared about the spiritual condition of the brethren there (II Cor. 
11:28). He was feeling the anxiety of not knowing. There is a feeling 
of great loneliness and deep depression which accompanies such isola- 
tion. Even though "a door was opened" for Paul to preach the gospel 
in Troas he could not take advantage of it because he could not set his 
mind to rest due to his anxiety. It is interesting, if not rather consol- 
ing, to note that even the greatest of the apostles had his moments of 
depression and was unable to function properly at times. He had to 
leave the "open door" in Troas behind and go to Macedonia until he 
could find Titus and set his mind at rest about the situation in Cor- 
inth. Many a preacher has felt the same loneliness because the con- 
gregation to which he ministers has made it a point to keep from him 
information necessary to building the kingdom of God and making it 
grow in spirituality. Too often the preacher is flooded with negative 
communications and destructive criticisms and deprived of encourage- 
ment and enlightenments which would assist him in his work. 

2:13 No Comrade: Titus was Paul's "true child in the faith" (Titus 
1:4), a convert, friend, and cherished co-laborer in the gospel. If our 
own christian experience is any gauge, Paul was more nearly kindred 
to Titus than to some of his own flesh-and-blood. After he had con- 
verted Titus (a Greek), Paul took him to Jerusalem and defended him 
against the Judaizers (Gal. 2:3). During Paul's third missionary 
journey Titus was assigned missions to Corinth (I Cor. 1-6; II Cor. 
2:13; 7:5-16; II Cor. 8). Much later Titus was in Crete and left behind 
there by Paul to organize its churches (Titus 1 :4, 5). And then Paul re- 
quested Titus to meet him at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). Titus was con- 
secrated, courageous, and resourceful. He knew how to handle the 
quarrelsome Corinthians, the mendacious Cretans, and the 
pugnacious Dalmatians (II Tim. 4:10). 

Titus was undoubtedly one of Paul's favorite companions. He is 
one of three individuals to whom Paul wrote Holy-Spirit-inspired let- 
ters (Timothy and Philemon being the others). Paul loved him as if he 
were his own son! When Paul was in prison the second time and facing 
certain death, Titus was one of those upon Paul's heart and lips (II 
Tim. 4:10) and one of those he longed to see. 



50 



J 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 

Every preacher knows the heartache of being separated from those 
he loves most. Usually it is his own family. Often, however, he also 
feels the loneliness of being separated from "comrades-in-arms" — 
his fellow ministers of the gospel. There is a definite camaraderie in 
the ministry experienced only by those who have met the same strug- 
gles, overcome the same difficulties, suffered the same setbacks. And 
when these "soldiers of the faith" have to serve in places where they 
are isolated from one another for long periods of time, there sur- 
rounds them a deep sense of loneliness. This is one of the problems 
that plague preachers. It plagued the apostle Paul. But heaven will 
solve that problem! 



SECTION 3 



Destiny (2:14-17) 



14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in 
triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge 
of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God 
among those who are being saved and among those who are 
perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other 
a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 
17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word; but as 
men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God 
we speak in Christ. 

2:14-16 Earnest: The vocation of a minister of God's word is 
conducive to loneliness. Because they preached the truth, the ancient 
Hebrew prophets were men who had to suffer loneliness. Jeremiah is 
the classic, of course, but even Elijah thought that he was the only one 
who stood for truth in all Israel in his day (I Kgs. 19:14-18). Jesus had 
to suffer the loneliness of being misunderstood and disbelieved by his 
own family! 

Paul's words here are well paraphrased by J. B. Phillips: 

"Thanks be to God who leads us, wherever we are, on Christ's trium- 
phant way and makes our knowledge of him spread throughout the 



51 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

world like a lovely perfume! We Christians have the unmistakable 
'scent' of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to 
those who are heading for death. To the latter it seems like the deathly 
smell of doom, to the former it has the refreshing fragrance of life 
itself." 

Paul is portraying the earnestness of the ministry of the gospel here. It 
is a "life and death" ministry. Some (a minority) will welcome the 
man preaching the truth of God as a "refreshing fragrance of life 
itself." Others (the majority) will be offended at the minister of the 
gospel because he discerns in his message the unmistakable smell of 
doom! 

The imagery used by the apostle to portray the awesomeness of a 
gospel preacher's task is taken from the Roman triumphal ceremony. 
We here quote from William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians, 
Daily Study Bible Series, pgs. 183-184. 

In his mind is the picture of a Roman Triumph and of Christ as a univer- 
sal conqueror. The highest honour which could be given to a victorious 
Roman general was a Triumph. To attain it he must satisfy certain con- 
ditions. He must have been the actual commander-in-chief in the field. 
The campaign must have been completely finished, the region pacified 
and the victorious troops brought home. Five thousand of the enemy at 
least must have fallen in one engagement. A positive extension of ter- 
ritory must have been gained, and not merely a disaster retrieved or an 
attack repelled. And the victory must have been won over a foreign foe 
and not in a civil war. 

In a Triumph the procession of the victorious general marched 
through the streets of Rome to the Capital in the following order. First 
came the state officials and the senate. Then came the trumpeters. Then 
were carried the spoils taken from the conquered land. For instance, 
when Titus conquered Jerusalem, the seven-branched candlestick, the 
golden table of the shew-bread and the golden trumpets were carried 
through the streets of Rome. Then came pictures of the conquered land 
and models of conquered citadels and ships. There followed the white 
bull for the sacrifice which would be made. Then there walked the cap- 
tive princes, leaders and generals in chains, shortly to be flung into 
prison and in all probability almost immediately to be executed. Then 
came the lictors bearing their rods, followed by the musicians with their 
lyres; then the priests swinging their censers with the sweet-smelling in- 
cense burning in them. After that came the general himself. He stood in 
a chariot drawn by four horses. He was clad in a purple tunic em- 
broidered with golden palm leaves, and over it a purple toga marked out 



52 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 

with golden stars. In his hand he held an ivory sceptre with the Roman 
eagle at its top, and over his head a slave held the crown of Jupiter. 
After him rode his family; and finally came the army wearing all their 
decorations and shouting Io triumphe! their cry of triumph. As the pro- 
cession moved through the streets, all decorated and garlanded, amid 
the cheering crowds, it made a tremendous day which might happen on- 
ly once in a lifetime. 

The risen King Jesus leads his preachers of the gospel in an 
awesome triumph through the streets of this world. To the victors 
comes the perfume of joy and triumph. But they are few and far 
separated from one another. To the wretched "prisoners," the con- 
demned, the gospel is the scent of death, impending their doom. This 
makes the pilgrimage of the preacher of the word of God on earth a 
lonely journey. Preacher's have little time for frivolity, for 
foolishness. They have no time to waste on inanities. They walk in a 
procession of life and death. To most of those walking with them, 
their message smells of doom, and they are not appreciated or 
welcomed. 

Those dead in sin are surprised 'that there are men of God who take 
their work with such seriousness. Those who spend their leisure hours 
in reveling wonder why preachers choose to miss out on the "good 
life" of living in licentiousness, passions, carousing and the like (see I 
Pet. 4:1-6). 

Noah condemned the world by his preaching (Heb. 11:7) and 
wound up practically alone (he saved only his own family). Jeremiah 
was alone in his preaching (see Jer. 5:1; 11:18-20; 15:10; 18:18-20; 
20:7-18). The truth preached exposes sin for what it really is, and the 
world hates (John 3:19-21; 15:18-25) anyone who does that! All who 
propose to follow Jesus in the ministry of God's word must count the 
cost. Part of that cost is loneliness. 

Some in the Corinthian church had evidently wandered from the 
faith far enough that to them the preaching of Paul had become "a 
fragrance from death to death." And Paul was feeling the depressing 
loneliness of their antagonism toward him. 

2:17 Exacting: The "fish bowl" kind of life preachers must lead 
only intensifies the loneliness they must suffer. Congregations expect 
of their spiritual leaders, rigid standards of personal integrity and con- 
duct. And that is rightly so — so long as those expectations square 



53 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

with scripture. Paul wrote to both Timothy and Titus about the godly 
behavior they were required to exhibit in their ministries. But 
sometimes, as in the case with the apostle Paul here, congregations de- 
mand and accuse on false bases. 

Paul firmly contradicts the false claims some in Corinth were mak- 
ing that he preached the gospel as a "peddler." The Greek word is 
kapeleuontes which signifies someone who is a small-time retailer, ac- 
tually, a huckster, in contrast to the Greek word emporos which 
means to be a merchant. The idea of the word kapeleuontes is 
marketing something dishonestly in order to line one's own pockets. 
Some in Corinth were accusing Paul of using the gospel, exploiting the 
gospel, as an excuse to line his own pockets. 

Evidently, in Paul's day some were exploiting the gospel for per- 
sonal gain. But Paul certainly was not doing so — especially with Cor- 
inth, for from them he received no financial remuneration or 
assistance (see I Cor. 9:12, 18; II Cor. 11:7-9; 12:13, 16). 

Needless to say, there are many self-appointed religious "giants" 
today "peddling" the gospel for their own financial gain. And so 
many of them are plainly dishonest in their huckstering. This in turn, 
makes a cynical world think all preachers "have a racket." And many 
a struggling, suffering messenger of God has served out his life on 
earth hurting and lonely because the world categorizes all preachers as 
"hucksters." It wasn't true of the apostle Paul and it isn't true of a 
host of faithful spokesmen for God today! But the world's cynicism 
makes for an exacting and isolated life for the true preacher of God's 
word. 

But Paul was sure of his own integrity. He knew he preached the 
gospel as a man of sincerity. The Greek word translated sincerity is 
eilikrineias and is sometimes translated purity. Some scholars think 
the word eilikrineias is etymologically related to the Greek word helios 
("sun") and therefore means, "pure as tested by the sunlight." If this 
is so, Paul means his ministry will be able to stand the penetrating rays 
of the sun — his ministry is open to the light and may be seen by all to 
be pure. He knew his ministry would stand the very scrutiny of God 
himself. The preacher who is true to God will be true to men. If he 
knows his ministry will stand the scrutiny of God himself, he need not 
be anxious about the false exactions and hurtful isolations of cynical 
men. 



54 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 

APPREHENSION: 

1. Why is the writing of this "second" epistle causing Paul "pain"? 

2. Why was Paul so intent on resolving the alienation he was getting 
from the Corinthian church? 

3. Who was causing "pain" in Corinth? 

4. Can you recount in your own words the scenario of Paul's deal- 
ings with the Corinthian church which led to all this "pain"? 

5. How will Satan "gain advantage" over these Corinthian chris- 
tians according to Paul? 

6. Why should christians want to know the devil's designs? 

7. What very evident design did the devil have for the Corinthian 
church? 

8. Why did Paul turn aside from the "door opened to him" in 
Troas? 

9. What event of the first century is Paul using to portray the chris- 
tian ministry in 2:14-16? 

10. What is a "peddler" of the word of God? 

APPLICATION: 

1. Why are preacher's "pained" when there is division in the 
church? 

2. Does causing grief to one of the leaders of the church hurt the rest 
of the church? How? 

3. How far should church discipline go? When is it too much? What 
is the church to do about a member who repents after discipline? 

4. How does being unforgiving make us vulnerable to Satan's 
designs? 

5. How do we keep ourselves from being ignorant of Satan's 
designs? 

6. Should preachers be allowed to have "special friends" in a con- 
gregation? 

7. Should preachers ever get depressed and so lonely they can't go 
through "opened doors"? Do they? What can a congregation do 
to help them? ' 

8. How does the earnestness of the ministry of the gospel contribute 



55 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

to making some preacher's lonely? 
9. Is preaching the gospel "a racket"? For whom? 
0. How may a preacher handle the problem of loneliness? 



56 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 



CORINTHIAN CORRESPONDENCE AND VISITS 

Taken from the book Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament, by 
H. Wayne House, pub. 1981 by Zondervan Publishing House. 



Event 



Scripture Reference 



Founding of church on second missionary journey Acts 18:1-17 

Leaving Corinth , arriving at Ephesus Acts 18:18-19 

Writing a letter now lost 1 I Cor. 5:9-13 

Receiving a bad report from 

"some from Chloe's household" 

and a letter from Corinth 
Writing of I Corinthians 
Sending of Timothy and 

Erastus to Corinth 
Hearing of serious crisis in Corinth 

caused by Jewish emissaries in which Paul's 

authority is questioned II Cor. 10:10; 11:23; 12:6-7 

Making a hasty trip to Corinth 

("painful visit") II Cor. 2:1; 12:14; 13:1 



ICor. 1:11; 7:1 
I Corinthians 

Acts 19:22; I Cor. 4:17; 16:10 



Writing of "severe letter" to Corinth 
Searching for Titus in Troas and Macedonia 
Finding of Titus, who reports 

worst at Corinth is over 
Writing of II Corinthians 



II Cor. 2:3-9; 7:8-12 
II Cor. 2:12-13 

II Cor. 7:6-16 
II Corinthians 



Making third visit to Corinth 



Acts 19:21; 20:3; II Cor. 13:1 



A CHRONOLOGY OF THE APOSTOLIC AGE 



Crucifixion 

Pentecost (Acts 2) 

Peter's second sermon; Peter brought 

before Sanhedrin (Acts 3:1-4:31) 
Death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 4:32-5:11) 



Friday, April 3, 33 
Sunday, May 25, 33 

summer 33 
33-34 



1. Some believe II Cor. 6:14-7:1 is a fragment of this letter. 



57 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Peter brought before Sanhedrin (Acts 5:12-42) 34-35 

Deacons selected (Acts 6:1-7) late 34-early 35 

Stephen martyred (Acts 6:8-7:60) April 35 

Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-7) summer 35 

Paul in Damascus and Arabia (Acts 9:8-25; 

Gal. 1:16-17 summer 35-early summer 37 

Paul in Jerusalem, first visit (Acts 9:26-29; Gal. 1:18-20) summer 37 
Paul to Tarsus and Syria-Cilicia area (Acts 9:30; Gal. 1:21) autumn 37 



|. ,, Peter's ministry to Gentiles (Acts 10:1-11:18) 


40-41 


I] i : Barnabas to Antioch (Acts 11:1 9-24) 




41 


1 J ]i Paul to Antioch (Acts 1 1 :25-26) 




spring 43 


I; ! Agabus's prediction of famine (Acts 11:27-28) 


spring 44 


J j i Agrippa's persecution, James martyred (Acts 


12:1-23) spring 44 


1 1 ! Relief visit, Paul's second visit to Jerusalem 




,' (Acts 11:30; Gal. 2:1-10) 




autumn 47 


U j Paul in Antioch (Acts 12:24-13:1) 




autumn 47-spring 48 


' First missionary journey (Acts 13-14) 






i Departure from Antioch 




April 48-Sept. 49 


;! Cyprus 




April 48 


,i Pamphylia 




April-June 48 


1 Pisidian Anitoch 


first o 


f July-middle of July 48 


jij Iconium 




Oct. 48-lastofFeb.49 


Lystra-Derbe 


March-middle of June 49 


i Return visit to churches 




middle of June-Aug. 49 


Return to Antioch of Syria 




Sept. 49 


j Peter in Antioch (Gal. 2:11-16) 




autumn 49 


j: Galatians written from Antioch 




autumn 49 


Jerusalem council, Paul's third visit (Acts 15) 


autumn 49 


Paulin Antioch (Acts 12:25-13:1) 




winter 49/50 


Second missionary journey (Acts 15:25-18:22) 


April 50-Sept. 52 


Departure from Antioch 




April 50 


Syria and Cilicia 




April 50 


Lystra-Derbe 




May 50 


Iconium 


last of May-middle of June 50 


Pisidian Antioch 


middle of June-first of July 50 


Antioch to Troas 




July 50 


Philippi 




Aug. -Oct. 50 


Thessalonica 




Nov. 50- Jan. 51 



58 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 



Berea 

Athens last of Feb 

Arrival at Corinth 

Silas and Timothy arrive from Berea 

I Thessalonians written 

II Thessalonians written 
Departure from Corinth 
Ephesus 

Jerusalem, Paul's fourth visit 
Return to Antioch 

Paul's stay at Antioch 

Third missionary j ourney (Acts 18:23-21:16) 

Departure from Antioch 

Visiting Galatian churches 

Arrival at Ephesus 

I Corinthians written 
Departure from Ephesus (riot) 
Troas 
Arrival in Macedonia 

II Corinthians written 
Departure from Macedonia 
Arrival in Corinth 
Romans written 
Departure from Corinth 
Philippi 
Troas 

Troas to Assos 
Assos to Mitylene 
Mitylene to Chios 
Chios to Trogyllium 
Trogyllium to Miletus 
Ephesian elders' visit with Paul 
Miletus to Patara 
Patara to Tyre 
Stay at Tyre 
Tyre to Caesarea 
Stay at Caesarea 
Caesarea to Jerusalem 



Feb. 51 

■middle of March 51 

middle of March 51 

April/May 51 

early summer 5 1 

summer 5 1 

first of Sept. 52 

middle of Sept. 52 

last of Sept. 52 

first/middle of Nov. 52 

winter 52/53 

spring 53-May 57 

spring 53 

spring-summer 53 

Sept. 53 

early spring 56 

first of May 56 

May 56 

first of June 56 

Sept. Oct. 56 

middle of Nov. 56 

last of Nov. 56 

winter 56/57 

last of Feb. 57 

April 6-14, 57 

April 19-25, 57 

Monday, April 25, 57 

April 26, 57 

April 27, 57 

April 28, 57 

April 29, 57 

April 30-May 2 

May 2-4, 57 

May 5-9, 57 

May 10-16, 57 

May 17-19, 57 

May 19-25, 57 

May 25-27,57 



59 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



Jerusalem, Paul's fifth visit 
Meeting with James (Acts 21:13-23) 
Paul's arrest and trial before Felix 

(Acts 21 :26-24:22) 

First day of purification 

Second day of purification 

Third day of purification 

Fourth day of purification 

Fifth day of purification, riot, Paul's speech 

Paul before the Sanhedrin 

Appearance of the Lord (night) 

Conspiracy (day) 

Journey to Antipatris (night) 

Journey to Caesarea (day) 

Waiting in Caesarea for trial 

Trial before Felix 
Paul before Felix and Drusilla (Acts 24:24-26) 
Caesarean imprisonment (Acts 24:27) 
Trial before Festus (Acts 25:7-12) 
Trial before Agrippa (Acts 26) 
Voyage to Rome (Acts 27:1-28:29) 

Departure from Caesarea 

Myra 

Fair Havens 

Shipwreck at Malta 

Departure from Malta 

Arrival in Rome 
First Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:30) 

Ephesians written 

Colossians and Philemon written 
Philippians written 
James, the Lord's brother, martyred 
Paul in Ephesus and Colosse 
Peter went to Rome 
Paul in Macedonia 
I Timothy written 
Paul in Asia Minor 
Paul in Spain 



eve of Pentecost, May 27, 57 
May 28, 57 

May 29- June 9, 57 

Sunday, May 29, 57 

May 30, 57 

May 31, 57 

Junel, 57 

June 2, 57 

June 3, 57 

June 4, 57 

June 5, 57 

June 5-9, 57 

Thursday, June 9, 57 

June 57 

June57-Aug.59 

July 59 

first of Aug. 59 

Aug. 59-Feb. 60 

middle of Aug. 59 

first of Sept. 59 

Oct. 5-10, 59 

last of Oct. 59 

first of Feb. 60 

last of Feb. 60 

Feb. 60-March 62 

autumn 60 

autumn 61 

early spring 62 

spring 62 

spring-autumn 62 

62 

late summer 62-winter 62/63 

autumn 62 

spring 63-spring 64 

spring 64-spring 66 



60 



THE PROBLEM OF LONELINESS 



Christians persecuted, Peter martyred 

Paul in Crete 

Paul in Asia Minor 

Titus written 

Paul in Nicopolis 

Paul in Macedonia and Greece 

Paul arrested and brought to Rome 

II Timothy written 

Paul's death 

Destruction of Jerusalem 



summer 64 

early summer 66 

summer -autumn 66 

summer 66 

winter 66/67 

spring-autumn 67 

autumn 67 

autumn 67 

spring 68 

Sept. 2, 70 



61 



Chapter Three 

The Problem of legalism 
(3:1-18) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Why is Paul bothered about "letters of recommendation"? 

2. How do people become "letters of recommendation"? 

3. If the old dispensation was so glorious Israel could not look on 
Moses' face, how can the new dispensation be more glorious? 

4. What is the "veil" that remained over the minds of the Israelites? 

5. Where may we "behold the glory of the Lord" in order to be 
changed into his likeness? 



SECTION 1 

It Dooms The Soul (3:1-6) 

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we 
5 need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from 
you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written 
on your hearts, to be known and read by all men; 3 and you show 
that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with 
ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone 
but on tablets of human hearts. 

4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward 
God. 5 Not that we are competent of oursevles to claim anything 
as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6 who has made 
us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written 
code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit 
gives life. 

3:1-3 Ineffective: Legalism is an almost constant problem for 
preachers. The problem is either his own legalism or that of members 
of the congregation he serves. It is probably the most productive tool 
of the devil to thwart the work of the church on earth! It is a sin much 
more insidious than sins of the flesh. It damns more souls than for- 



63 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

nication and thievery put together! Legalism is a problem, not only 
for those inside the church, but for milliofts of impenitent sinners 
seeking to be justified before God by some meritorious code devised 
by their own self-righteous arrogance. Legalism is fundamentally an 
attitude. It manifests itself in behavior designed to conform to specific 
codes or rules. And those codes of conduct are almost as numerous as 
there are human beings! Legalism is the attitude that demands 
justification from God on the basis of having behaved in conformity 
with an established set of regulations or rules — usually regulations 
established by the individual. The Pharisees took the law of Moses, 
made their own code of behavior as "interpretations" (called, "tradi- 
tions of the elders") and declared they were justified before God 
because they had "kept the law." 

Followers of the Pharisees were everywhere in the first century 
world of Paul. Many of them had infiltrated the christian churches 
established in the Roman provinces. Paul called them, "false 
brethren" (Gal. 2:4) and "dogs" (Phil. 3:2). They were the Judaizers 
who insisted that before any Gentile could become a disciple of the 
Messiah (Christ) he had to be circumcised according to the law of 
Moses and keep the traditions of the elders. 

Someone in the Corinthian church had impunged Paul's creden- 
tials as an emissary of God because he had no commendations from 
the Judaizers. Some had come to the Corinthians with letters of com- 
mendation' from the Judaizers and were received. These Judaizers 
were there, as in Galatia, Philippi, Colossae, Rome, Jerusalem, and 
other places, to undo Paul's work and regiment the Corinthian chris- 
tians into little cells of legalistic Judaism. They undoubtedly carried 
with them introductory letters from the Sanhedrin to accredit them. 
Once upon a time even Paul had had such letters himself (Acts 9:2). 

Paul's argument is that no amount of letters of accreditation from 
the Judaizers will produce eternal life or the christian freedom cher- 
ished by the Corinthians. That is because legalism is totally ineffective 
in clearing the conscience (see Heb. 10:1-4). It cannot produce life in 
the heart (mind) of man. The law of Moses produces condemnation, 
judgment, and eternal death. So do all "traditions" and codes of legal 
justification invented by men, no matter how liberal the code may be 
(see Romans 2:12-16). Man's conscience tells him he has sinned and 
defaulted on his own standards, let alone God's! The only way sinful 



64 



THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

man can have a consciousness of life is through a dispensation of 
divine grace. Grace is dispensed through Christ. 

The apostle contends that the converted heathen Corinthians were 
living credentials of his ministry. They proved he was the properly 
authorized emissary from Christ. Paul had written on their hearts the 
eternal gospel. They had become persons with a consciousness of im- 
morality. They "looked to the things that are unseen . . . eternal" (II 
Cor. 4:16-18). Their mind-set and lifestyle was "known and read by 
all men . . ." (II Cor. 3:2). That was Paul's "letter of 
commendation" from God. The Greek philosopher Plato had said 
400 years before Paul, that the good teacher does not write his 
message in ink that will fade; he writes it upon men. And that is the 
way the gospel of Christ operates. It becomes fixed upon the 
character, the personality, the spirit of the humble and contrite person. 
Christ's word is eternal. It shall never pass away. It never returns to 
him void but always accomplishes that for which it is sent (see Isa. 
55:11). Christ had written his character, through his servant, Paul, 
upon the hearts of the Corinthian christians, not with that which was 
destined to fade (the law) — but with the eternal Spirit of God., Their 
relationship to Christ was Paul's accreditation (see I Cor. 9:2). It is an 
awesome thought that every christian, whether he likes it or not, is at 
once a "living letter" known and read by his contemporaries. Chris- 
tians represent Christ to the world. Men judge the church by its 
members. The honor of. God is in the hands of believers (see Rom. 
2:24; John 13:35; I Thess. 1:7-8). 

The possessive pronoun in the Greek text is hemon and should be 
translated "our." Some ancient Greek manuscripts (among them the 
Siniaticus) have humon for the pronoun which would read "your." 
Evidently the RSV translators chose the pronoun humon even though 
the preponderance of manuscripts show hemon. For Paul to say, 
"You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our 
hearts, to be known and read by all men ..." does not make sense 
and does not fit the context. Unless Paul's sentence could be separated 
this way: "You yourselves are our letter of recommendation to be 
known and read by all men, and you are written on our hearts." 
Another commentator has suggested that Paul means "the hearts of 
all christians, in general, not Paul alone." That is, Paul's credentials 
are written "on all our hearts" to be known and read by men, you 



65 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Corinthians, too. But Paul goes on to say in verse 3, "and you show 
that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us . . ." so he is refer- 
ring to that which is written on their hearts. The RSV translation 
seems in keeping with the context. They were Paul's verification: they 
were read by all men. 

The Greek verbs in this passage are instructive. The perfect tense 
participle eggegrammene, "having been inscribed" means what Christ 
had written on their hearts through Paul had been done in the past 
with a continuing result. And the present tense participles, 
ginoskomene ("being known") and anaginoskomene ("being read") 
indicate that the Corinthians were continually being known and read 
by all men. Furthermore, the present participle phaneroumenoi ("be- 
ing shown") indicates they were continually showing that they were 
Paul's recommendation. 

3:4-5 Insufficient: The Judaizers went to Corinth with letters from 
the "fathers" at Jerusalem, no doubt. But no human being is suffi- 
cient to produce in man what God desires. Paul would not even claim 
that sufficiency on his own. He would have the Corinthians under- 
stand that his confidence is through Christ — his sufficiency is from 
God. Legalism is insufficient because it does not come from God. God 
gave the Law. But God never intended the Law to be used in a 
legalistic, self-justifying way. The Law had a holy and good purpose 
(see Rom. 7:7-12). It was actually intended to teach just the opposite 
from what the Judaizers taught. The Law was to bring all who knew it 
to a consciousness of condemnation and total inability to be justified 
by it. It is not the law which is insufficient — it is legalistic perversion 
of the law which is insufficient. The Law is sufficient for its purpose 
— to produce awareness of sin, the need for grace, and tutoring unto 
faith. 

Paul would not even take credit for what had been produced in the 
Corinthians through him. He gave all the credit to Christ and God. 
That is another of the glaring insufficiencies of the legalistic spirit. It 
dare not be honest and give credit where the credit is due. The legalist 
is a legalist because he wants all the credit for himself. Grace, 
unmerited favor, is anathema to him! Let all preachers and congrega- 
tions beware of legalism. It is ineffective and insufficient. In fact, it 
produces exactly the opposite of what God's powerful word produces. 
Stay with the Word. Preach the word — leave "traditions" and 



66 



THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

"codes" to the legalists. 

Like it or not, right or wrong, people generally manifest what they 
have been taught or what they have learned. Teaching and learning is 
a character-building process. People become "books" to be read by 
all those with whom they associate. The apostles were "read" as hav- 
ing "been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). That is how people become "letters 
of recommendation." Paul told the brethren at Thessalonica they 
were his "joy and crown" of boasting (I Thess. 2:19-20; II Thess. 
1:3-4). 

3:6 Incriminating: Legalism dooms men under the judgment of 
God even more so than the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was 
given by God and provisions were made in it for having faith reckoned 
as righteousness (see Gen. 15:6; Heb. 11:1-40). But legalism takes the 
Law and prostitutes it into a system of human self-justification. But 
by the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16). 

Paul reminded the Corinthians that his credentials testified that he 
had been qualified by God to be a minister of a new covenant, not in a 
written code which kills, but in the Spirit which gives life. Law con- 
demns to separation from God (death) because man cannot, does not, 
keep the Law. Man is guilty. God's penalty for breaking his Law is 
eternal banishment. But from the very first violation of his Law, God 
started preparing to forgive and justify men by a totally gracious deed 
of his own. All who believed in that in the O.T. were justified by 
God's gracious deed (redemptive work of Christ). The new covenant 
was prophesied, typified and proclaimed in the O.T. All those in the 
O.T. who refused to trust in the coming grace of God through the 
Messiah (and there were many), but trusted in their legal standing ac- 
cording to Law, never had the salvation of God. Paul plainly says that 
the new covenant was a manifestation of the righteousness of God 
apart from law, although the law and the prophets had borne witness 
to just such justification by faith (Rom. 3:21-26). 

In this letter to the Corinthians the apostle wants it understood 
that he has been qualified to be a minister (dispenser) of the new cove- 
nant which is all about life. The new covenant does not condemn or 
sentence anyone to death. It holds forth the word of life. Of course, 
anyone who does not enter into the new covenant will die forever 
because all who refuse the gospel must accept law — one kind of law 
or another (see Rom. 2:12-16). And to trust in law for justification is 



67 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

the very essence of legalism. Legalism incriminates and kills. The 
Spirit of God, given gratis (by grace), brings justification and life. 

SECTION 2 

It Diminishes God's Splendor (3:7-11) 

7 Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, 
came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at 
Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8 will 
not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splen- 
dor? 9 For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemna- 
tion, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in 
splendor. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has 
come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that 
surpasses it. "For if what faded away came with splendor, what 
is permanent must have much more splendor. 

3:7-8 Deteriorates: The Law of Moses was a dispensation of death, 
carved on deteriorating stone. Of course, it had splendor (Gr. doxe, 
glory)! Anything God does has glory. All God's actions in history are 
glorious. His creation of this universe was glorious; his providential 
intervention (miracles) in creation was glorious; but this universe is 
destined to pass away, and is passing away because he has subjected it 
to futility (see Gen. 3:14-19; Rom. 8.T8-25). This universe was tem- 
porary from the day of its creation for flesh and blood cannot inherit 
the kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:42-54). So with the Law of Moses. It 
was glorious but temporary from the moment of its revealing. It was 
destined to be fulfilled with that which was permanently glorious — 
the Gospel. 

The Law came to Moses with such splendor that the Israelites 
could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading (Gr. 
katargoumenen, being done away, being brought to an end, rendering 
powerless) as this was. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, 
after receiving the Law of God, his face shone so that both Aaron and 
the Israelites were afraid to come near him (Exod. 34:29-35). Just as 
objects exposed to light or radiation sometimes glow even after being 
removed from the light, so Moses, having been with God who dwells 
in light unapproachable (I Tim. 6:16) had acquired some of the glow 



68 




THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

of God (see Rev. 21:23), even though he had seen only the "back part 
of God" (Exod. 33:23). Jesus' transfiguration (Gr. metetnorphothe, 
metamorphosis) is described thus: ". . .his face shone like the sun, 
and his garments became white as the light" (Matt. 17:2); ". . . his 
garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth 
could bleach them" (Mark 9:3); ". . . the appearance of his 
countenance and his raiment became dazzling white" (Luke 9:29). 
ffhis transfiguration of Jesus was a sign to the apostles that his coming 
with the dispensation of the Spirit was to be with greater splendor than 
that dispensation of death given to Moses. 

If the Law of Moses, which originated with God, revealed a 
diminishing splendor from the moment of its inception, how much 
more will legalism, a perversion of the Law, diminish the splendor of 
God. This is Paul's aim in this admonition to the Corinthian church. 
They must not allow the legalists to come in with letters of commenda- 
tion (no matter from whom) and diminish the glory of the Gospelu 

3:9-11 Disappears: The Law of Moses, the dispensation of con- 
demnation, would inevitably be superseded should a dispensation of 
righteousness be inaugurated. And that is precisely what took place. 
Paul had preached that to the Corinthians. He had converted them to 
Christ with a gospel of righteousness (see I Cor. 1:26-31; II Cor. 
5:11-21). Logic, therefore, demands that the Corinthians not be 
deceived by the Judaizers into returning to a faded splendor of con- 
demnation because the splendor of righteousness in Christ to which 
they had been called must far exceed the Law of Moses. The dispensa- 
tion of righteousness, the Gospel, supersedes any and all legal 
systems, whether revealed to Moses or written on nature and the con- 
science of man (see Rom. 1:18-2:16). 

Paul puts it this way, "Indeed, in this case, what once had splen- 
dor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that 
surpasses it." The Law of Moses (and all legal systems or legalisms) 
have no splendor at all! All religious, philosophical, or ethical systems 
advocating justification by law-keeping or self-improvement are 
bereft of any glory in the eyes of God. It is, therefore, senseless and 
useless to seek glorification from God in the Law of Moses or in any 
form of legalism. 

The transfiguration of Jesus Christ was an actual, historical event. 
It was empirically observed (seen and heard). When Jesus was 



69 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

"metamorphosed" from his fleshly nature back into his divine glory, 
there appeared with him (seen by the disciples) Moses and Elijah 
(representatives of the Law and the Prophets, the dispensation of 
death) (see Matt. 17:3-8; Mark 9:4-8; Luke 9:30-36). It was at that mo- 
ment God spoke to the disciples (Peter, James and John) and said, 
"This is my beloved Son, with who I am well pleased; listen to him." 
God thus served notice that Jesus was to supersede, fulfill and 
abrogate the Old dispensation and surpass it with such divine glory in 
the gospel that the Old would "have no splendor at all." After God's 
message, the disciples looked and "saw no one but Jesus only." The 
Law was to disappear in Jesus. 

f The New dispensation, the Gospel, remains (Gr. menon, is remain- 
ing or abiding) is permanent. It shall never fade away. It was the pro- 
mise according to faith from the beginning, and the law which came 
430 years later did not annul the promise (Gal. 3:10-18). Justification 
by faith in Christ has always been God's intent for man. It has been 
God' 's permanent , most glorious, dispensation of grace from the foun- 
dation of the earth for Jesus was the lamb slain then (I Pet. 1 :20; Rev. 
13:8). The Gospel is the eternal gospel (I Pet. 1:25-26; Rev. 14:6). 
Heaven and earth may pass away but Jesus' words will never pass 
away (Matt. 24:35).) 

Hebrews 2:1-4 gives an awesome warning to men to "pay closer at- 
tention" to the gospel than to the revelation given by angels (the Law) 
because the gospel came through the Son (see Heb. 1:1-4). The entire 
book of Hebrews is a clear and absolute command not to return to the 
Law (or any form of legalism) for justification. Those who seek 
justification by legalism are apostates who have no avenue for repen- 
tance before God (see Heb. 6:1-8) but only a fearful expectation of 
judgment (Heb. 10:1-39). Paul's epistles to the Romans and the Gala- 
tians are also unequivocal treatises on the fulfillment and abrogation 
of the Law of Moses in Christ, and the apostate nature of legalism as a 
system of justification. 

Section 3 

It Divests People of Freedom (3:12-17) 

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, "not like 



70 



THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might 
not see the end of the fading splendor. ,4 But their minds were 
hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that 
same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it 
taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies 
over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is 
removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of 
the Lord is, there is freedom. 

3:12-13 Conceals: Moses put a veil over his face after he finished 
speaking with the Israelites (Exod. 34:33-34) and removed the veil 
when he went in to speak with Jehovah in the tabernacle. But Moses 
always put the veil on when he came into the presence of the Israelites. 
Paul states that Moses put the veil on his face so the Israelites would 
not seethe "end" of the glory that was fading away (3:13). Paul states 
the veil was because Moses did not have enough hope in the "fading 
away" revelation to be bold enough to let Israel see the "fading 
glory." Moses certainly did not veil his face because the Israelites were 
not allowed to see the glow, or because it was so bright it blinded 
them, for Moses talked to them before putting on the veil. The apostle 
used the fading glory of Moses' face as a symbol or type (which is pro- 
phetic) of the fading glory of the Old covenant (the law). That cove- 
nant passed away, like the glow of Moses' face. Even though the Old 
Testament predicts in a number of places that the old covenant was to 
be done away (e.g. Jer. 3:15; 31:31-34; Dan. 9:24-27; Isa. 66:1-24; 
etc.), most Jews refused to accept that doctrine then and Jews do not 
accept it now! The Israelite people to whom Moses ministered were 
certainly not spiritually mature enough to be reminded over and over 
of the "fading glory" of Moses' relationship to God — that is why 
Moses covered his face. The Jews killed the prophets for predicting 
the fulfillment of the old dispensation with the Messianic age; they 
killed Christ for that; and they authored the deaths of a number of the 
apostles for preaching that doctrine. 

Legalism veils the freedom (so did the Law of Moses) God intend- 
ed to give believers in Christ. The prophets hinted at the freedom that 
would come to man when the Messiah came (see especially Isaiah 
61:1-4 as fulfilled in Luke 4:18-19). But that freedom was concealed 
and obscured in the Law. Any form of legalism certainly hides the 



71 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

freedom which God reveals in the New Testament of Christ Jesus. 

3:14-15 Calluses: Legalism hardens the mind against grace. The 
veil over Moses' face was also a symbol of the hardening of the minds 
of the Israelites in rejecting Christ. Fourteen centuries after Moses, 
the Jewish mind was still hardened in Paul's day whenever the Law of 
Moses was read in a Jewish synagogue — a veil lay upon the hearts of 
the Jews and they became satisfied with a system of justification by 
legalism. Twenty centuries after Paul, that hardness is still like con- 
crete over the Jewish mind. Paul told the brethren of Thessalonica 
that they had suffered the same things from their own countrymen as 
the christians of Judea did from the Jews, who (the Jews) killed both 
the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us (apostles) out, and 
displease God and oppose all men by hindering us (the apostles) from 
speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved — so as always to fill 
up the measure of their sins. But God's wrath has come upon them 
(the Jews) to completion (Gr. eis telos, unto perfection), see I 
Thessalonians 2:14-16. That same kind of callused opposition to 
Christ and his church continues to go on in modern Israel and among 
modern Jews. 

Jewish legalism is not the only legalism which opposes the gospel. 
All forms of legalism are set against grace! There is an inveterate 
legalism within the Christian Church which takes an obscurantist and 
obdurate stand in opposition to christian grace and freedom in Christ. 
The human arrogance that is proud of its pseudo-righteousness 
through legalistic justification makes war on the humility which re- 
joices in its freedom through grace alone. 

3:16-17 Constrains: Paul says plainly that when a person "turns to 
the Lord the veil is removed." Men are free only in the Lord. The 
obverse truth is that men are enslaved in Law and legalism. The apos- 
tle states it much clearer in Galatians. He specifically uses the words, 
"consigned under" and "confined under . . . restraint" in Galatians 
3:21-25. In Galatians 4:1-7 he uses the word "slave" to describe those 
under the Law (see also Gal. 4:21-31 for the allegorical picture of 
those under the Law as "children for slavery"). Jesus told those who 
committed themselves to him that they were no longer slaves (John 
15:15). He told the Jews that if they would continue in his word, they 
would be his disciples and they would know the truth and the truth 
would make them free (see John 8:31-38). 



72 



THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

Legalism is even more enslaving than the Law, for legalism cannot 
do what the Law was sent to do — to bring people to an acknowledg- 
ment of their sinfulness and lead them to Christ for mercy. Legalism 
will have none of mercy for it does not acknowledge its need for mer- 
cy. 

Section 4 

Defense Against Legalism (3:18) 

18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the 
Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of 
glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 

3:18 Transformation: The defense against legalism is a gradual 
process of transformation into the likeness (Gr. auten eikona, same 
image, or, same icon). The apostle uses the Greek word metamor- 
phoumetha and it is translated into the English word changed by the 
RSV. This Greek word is a combination of the prepositional prefix 
meta (which can mean "over and beyond") and morphe (which means 
"form"). Thus we have the English word metamorphosis from this 
Greek word. A "metamorphosis" is what a caterpillar goes through to 
become a butterfly; its form is changed beyond what it was from one 
degree of glory to another. 

The metamorphosis Paul is talking about here for the believer is a 
spiritual one in this earthly existence. It is spoken of in the New Testa- 
ment in a number of metaphors; it is called the "new birth"; "conver- 
sion"; "salvation"; "partaking of the divine nature" (II Pet. 1:3-11); 
"being born of the Spirit"; "being transformed"; "being conformed 
to the image of God's Son" (Rom. 8:29), etc. Nearly all Bible 
believers agree on these terms as expressing the experience or action 
required by God for eternal life. The disagreement is usually over the 
question as to how this transformation takes place in the life of the 
believer. 

Paul says in this text (II Cor. 3:18) that it occurs when believers 
"... with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being 
changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this 



73 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." An analysis of this text, as we 
compare it with other relevant scriptures, will clearly indicate how this 
action is accomplished. First, it requires an "unveiled face." The 
Greek verb for "unveiled" is anakekalummeno . It is a perfect tense 
verb indicating action in the past with a continuing action or result. It 
is a perfect passive participle of anakalupto and would be translated 
literally, "having been unveiled." Passive voice would indicate the 
unveiling was something done to the believer by someone else. Our 
"unveiling" is through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Of course, 
God's Spirit will not unveil our hardened minds unless we wish him to 
and cooperate with him in every instruction he gives in his Word. The 
Holy Spirit may be resisted. This unveiling is definitely a continuing, 
progressive process. It does not all take place at one time. The perfect 
tense verb clears that up. Furthermore, Paul states that it is a process 
"from one degree of glory to another." 

Second, the "unveiled face" comes as a result of "beholding the 
glory of the Lord." The Greek work translated "beholding" is katop- 
•trizomenoi (we get the English word optometry from this word). It is a 
present tense, middle voice participle. The present tense means action 
continuing to happen. The middle voice means the subject (the 
believer) is acting upon himself or in some way that concerns himself. 
The Greek word katoptrizomenoi might be translated, "beholding in 
a mirror" or, "seeing a reflection." One way or another, the human 
being must "behold" the glory of the Lord in order to be changed. 
And Paul says that even the beholding comes from the Lord who is the 
Spirit. Now the question is, how has the Spirit made the glory of the 
Lord visible to human beings? 

We believe the New Testament is unequivocal on that point! We 
believe there is no room for opinion on the matter. We believe it is a 
clear teaching of the scripture and Scripture is always authoritative 
above opinions when sound hermeneutics are exercised. Many 
passages in the New Testament clearly indicate that in conversion and 
sanctification (being changed from one degree of glory to another, or, 
being transformed into the image of God's Son) the Holy Spirit 
operates only through the Word of truth: (a) we are made partakers of 
the divine nature (the nature of Christ) and granted all things that per- 
tain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ and through 
his precious and very great promises (II Pet. 1:3-4) — the knowledge 



74 



THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

of Christ comes through the Word (Rom. 10:17), and certainly there is 
no other place for a human being to find the promises of Christ except 
in the written word; (b) we are to be transformed by the renewing of 
our minds motivated to that renewing by the mercies of God (Rom. 
12:1-2) — the mind of the human being must contact the mercies of 
God to be renewed and those mercies can only be mentally ap- 
propriated from the written Word; (c) we are to be conformed to the 
image of God's Son (Rom. 8:29) by setting our minds on the things of 
the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-8) — the mind of the human being must be set on 
the things of the Spirit and these things are revealed through the 
apostles (see John 16:7-15, and see our comments on I Cor. 2:6-16) in 
the New Testament only (see I John 4:1-6); (d) we are called through 
the gospel so that we may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (II 
Thess. 2:14) — the gospel is the Word of the Spirit written which is at 
work in believers (I Thess. 2:13); (e) we purify our souls by obedience 
to the truth and are born anew of the imperishable seed which is the 
living and abiding word of God, the preached (or written) gospel (I 
Pet. 1:22-25) — the "seed" of new birth and continuing purification 
of the soul is sown in our minds through the written Word of the the 
spirit. 

We might go on multiplying references from the scriptures show- 
ing that the Holy Spirit operates only through the Word of truth for 
there a many. We quote now from Alexander Campbell for clarifica- 
tion of this proposition: 

"All moral facts have a moral meaning; and those are properly called 
moral facts which either exhibit, develop, or form moral 
character. . . . It so happens, however, that all his (God's) works, when 
properly understood, exhibit both his physical and moral character, 
when viewed in all their proper relations. . . . The work of redemption 
is a system of works, or deeds, on the part of Heaven, which constitute 
the most splendid series of moral facts which man or angel ever saw. 
And they are the proof, the argument, or the demonstration, of that 
regenerating proposition which presents God and Love as two names 
for one idea. . . . When these facts are understood, or brought into im- 
mediate contact with the mind of man, as a moral seal or archetype, 
they delineate the image of God upon the human soul. All the means of 
grace are, therefore, only the means of impressing this seal upon the 
heart, — of bringing these moral facts to make their full impression on 
the soul of man. Testimony and faith are but the channel through which 



75 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

these facts, or the hand of God, draws the image on the heart and 
character of man." Alexander Campbell in The Christian System, pub. 
Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, no date, pps. 90-91. 

Alexander Campbell also wrote that in human experience, "No 
living man has ever been heard of, and none can now be found, 
possessed of a single* Christian concept of one spiritual thought, feel- 
ing, or emotion, where the Bible, or some tradition from it has not 
been before him." See the Special Study at the end of this chapter 
from Alexander Campbell's, Christian Baptism, on this proposition. 

While we endure the sufferings of this present time being changed 
from one degree of spiritual glory to another into the likeness of 
Christ, these sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is 
to be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18-39). God is preparing for those 
metamorphosed into the image of his Son an eternal weight of glory 
beyond comparison (II Cor. 4:16-18) when we shall be clothed with 
life (II Cor. 5:1-5; I Cor. 15:35-57) and immortality. 

And since he (God) is the source of our life in Christ, who is our 
wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption, (I Cor. 
1:30-31), let us renounce legalism and boast only of the Lord! 



APPREHENSION: 

1 . What is legalism? 

2. How was legalism a problem to the apostle Paul? 

3. How did the Corinthians become "letters" from Christ delivered 
by Paul? 

4. What is the dispensation of death? Why was it a dispensation of 
death? 

5. What is the dispensation of the Spirit? 

6. How could Paul say the dispensation of death had glory? 

7. How did God show the Israelites that the dispensation of death 
would fade away? 

8. Why would God want the Israelites to know the O.T. was to fade 
away? 

9. What is the splendor of the new dispensation? 

10. Is Paul teaching here that the Old Testament was completely and 



76 



THE PROBLEM OF LEGALISM 

totally fulfilled and abrogated? What other scriptures teach that? 

11. What was the purpose of the veil Moses put over his face? 

12. Does it have some symbolic significance for the Corinthians and 
us? What? 

13. How is this veil removed? 

14. Where may a human being behold the glory of the Lord? Is this 
the only place? How do you know? 

15. What happens as a result of beholding the glory of the Lord? 



APPLICATION: 

1 . Is legalism a problem with your preacher? 

2. Is legalism a problem with you? 

3. If Paul were writing to you and your congregation today, what 
kind of letter of recommendation for him would you be? 

4. Do you have a consciousness of death or of life from your New 
Covenant relationship with God through Christ? 

5. What do you think about your being saved by grace? 

6. Is there a veil over your face when you try to be pleasing to God? 
Is there some hardness callusing your mind against the free grace 
of God? 

7. Are you satisfied with the glory of the Lord revealed exclusively in 
the scriptures? Do you think the Lord should manifest himself to 
you in some physical glory? 

8. Would you be more converted, more changed into his character if 
he would reveal himself to you physically? 

9. To whom do you give credit for your changed character, day by 
day? 

10. What kind of glory do you anticipate in heaven? 



77 



Special Study 



Notes From Christian baptism 

by Alexander Campbell 



PROPOSITION: 

In conversion and sanctification, the Holy Spirit operates only 
through the Word of truth. 



Argument from . . . 

1. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MIND 

In conversion "no new faculties are imparted — no old faculty 
destroyed!" "The Spirit of God, in effecting this great change does 
not violate, metamorphose, or annihilate any power or faculty of the 
man, in making the saint." p. 236 

2. EXPERIENCE 

"No living man has ever been heard of, and none can now be 
found, possessed of a single Christian concept of one spiritual 
thought, feeling, or emotion, where the Bible, or some tradition from 
it, has not been before him." p. 238 

3. OBSERVATION 

"No one, professing to have been the subject of the illuminating, 
converting, and sanctifying operations of the Spirit of God, can ever 
express a single right conception or idea on the whole subject of 
spiritual things, not already found in the written word," p. 239 "I 
have never heard one suggestion, containing the feeblest ray of light, 
which was not eighteen hundred years old, and already found in Holy 
Scriptures." pp. 239, 240 

4. CONSISTENCY- "Whatever is essential to regeneration in any 
case, is essential to it in all cases. "p. 240 

"If then, the Spirit of God, without faith, without knowledge of 
the gospel, in any case, regenerates an individual, it does so in all 
cases. But if faith in God, or a knowledge of Christ, is essential in one 
case, it is essential in every other case." p. 240 



78 



NOTES FROM CHRISTIAN BAPTISM 

5. THE HOLY SPIRIT'S OWN METHOD OF ADDRESSING 

MEN 

"He seems to have sought admission into the hearts of the people 
by these glorious displays of Divine power presented to the eyes 
(miracles), and these words of grace addressed to the ear. ... He 
used means, rational means; therefore, we argue, such means were 
necessary, and are still, in certain modifications of that same super- 
natural grandeur, necessary to conversion and sanctification." p. 242 

6. THE NAME CHOSEN BY JESUS FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT 
{Paracletos - advocate) 

"Now as the Spirit is to advocate Christ's cause, he must use 
means. ... He was to convince the world of sin, righteousness, and 
judgment. ... In converting men, the Spirit, the Holy Advocate, was 
to speak of Jesus. Hence, speaking of Jesus by the Spirit,- is all that 
was necessary to the conversion of men." pp. 242, 243 

7. THE GIFT OF TONGUES (LANGUAGE) 

"That language is essential to the completion of the commission, is 
proved from the great fact, that the first gift of the Holy Spirit, under 
the Messiah's commission, was the gift of tongues." p. 243 "With 
Plato, then, I say, that God taught the primitive words, and from that, 
man manufactured the derivatives. With Newton, I say, God gave 
man reason and religion by giving him speech ... the Spirit of God, 
now the Spirit of the Word, is the origin of all spiritual words and con- 
ceptions." p. 245 

8. SCRIPTURE 

I Peter 1 :23-"The Word of God is the seed, of which we are born 
again or renewed in heart and life. . . . Where this incorruptible seed 
is not, there can be no birth!" pp. 245, 246 

James l:18-"God's will is the origin of it; his Spirit the efficient 
cause of it; but the Word is the necessary instrument of it." p. 246 

I Corinthians 4:15-"The gospel is here the seed, the instrument of 
the conversion of the Corinthians." p. 247 

9. PAUL'S COMMISSION (Acts 26:15-18) 

"God would use light, knowledge, the gospel, and would OPEN 



79 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

THE EYES of men — turning them from darkness to light, and from 
the kingdom and power of Satan to God. , . . Illumination is, 
therefore, an essential prerequisite to conversion and holiness." p. 248 

10. SPHERE OF INFLUENCE 

"Whatever influence is ascribed to the Word of God in the Sacred 
Scriptures, is also ascribed to the Spirit of God." p. 248 

1) Enlightenment-Heb. 6:4-Psa. 19:7, 8 

2) Conversion-Titus 3:5-7-Psa. 19:7 

3) Sanctification-Rom. 15:16-John 17:17 

4) Be filled with-Eph. 5:18-Col. 3:16 

5) Life giving-Rom. 8:6, 11-Psa. 119:25, 50 

11. RESISTANCE 

"Resisting the Word of God, and resisting the Spirit of God, are 
shown to be the same thing." p. 249 

1) Acts 7:51-53 

2) Neh. 9:20, 30 

12. CREATION 

"Every work of creation is represented as the product of his 
Word." (Heb. 11:3; Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26) p. 251 

"God, therefore, made man in his own image by his Word, and he 
now restores him to that same image by his Word of power." p. 251 

13. GOD'S WILL AND POWER 

"The Lord has imbodied his will in his Word. . . . The Word of 
the Lord is the Lord himself." p. 251 "As the Lord Jesus is the Word 
of God incarnate, so is his Word an embodiment of his 
power. . . . The Word of God is, then, the actualpower of God." p. 
252 "The power of God to salvation is the persuasive power of infinite 
and eternal love, and not the compulsive and subduing power of any 
force superadded to it." p. 253 

14. THE CONVERSION ACCOUNTS IN ACTS 

"In not one of these cases did the Holy Spirit operate without the 
Word, but always through it." p. 254 (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 8:5, 6, 12; 
8:35; 9:4-9, 17-19) 



80 



Special Study 

Are We fundamentalists? 

Historically 

The answer to that is Yes and No! While the Restoration Move- 
ment parallels the great revival of religious conservatism in the late 
18th and early 19th centuries, our Movement predates the historical 
founding of the movement called "Fundamentalism." It is also evi- 
dent that the Restoration Movement, although believing in the great 
"fundamental" doctrines declared at the first by fundamentalism, 
does not adhere to later theological deviations and dogmatism. 

George M. Marsden, Professor of History at Calvin College, in his 
book, Fundamentalism and American Culture, 1980, sees Fundamen- 
talism rising out of the ashes of the destructive debate which occurred 
at the 1873 Evangelical Alliance. 

Until that time, American Protestantism had been riding the crest 
of a wave of evangelicalism swept along on the tide of revivalism in 
the late 1700's and early 1800's. It is significant that the Restoration 
Movement in America was begun during this time. 

This old order correlated faith, learning and morality with the welfare 
of civilization. Two premises were absolutely fundamental — that 
God's truth was a single unified order and that all persons of common 
sense were capable of knowing that truth. The implications of these 
assumptions were carefully worked out by the philosophical school 
known as Scottish Common Sense Realism." (Marsden, op, cit, p. 14) 

In 1869 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (who moved in the ultra- 
liberal Transcendentalist circles in Boston) predicted the imminent 
demise of christian conservatism, saying: /'The truth is staring the 
Christian world in the face, that the stories of the old Hebrew books 
cannot be taken as literal statements of fact." Holmes was seduced by 
the destructive criticism of such men as F.C. Baur, D.F. Strauss, and 
J.E. Renan. 

Throwing fuel on the flame already oegun, James McCosh, Presi- 
dent of the College of New Jersey (later, Princeton), stated on the 
floor debate of the 1873 Evangelical Alliance, he thought that evolu- 
tion and Christianity could be reconciled without violating belief in 



81 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

God and creation. But others, among them the great Charles Hodge 
of Princeton, countered that the supernaturalism of the Biblical view 
was utterly incompatible with the naturalism they saw as essential to 
Darwin's position. 

Almost all the basic battle lines had been drawn, but the battle was 
far from settled. Higher criticism and Darwinism went far beyond the 
realm of empirical science and took the leap into philosophies of 
origins and purposes. This threatened the very foundations of Chris- 
tian belief. 

Most American evangelicals were so firmly committed to both ob- 
jective science and historical Christianity they were forced, by the 
severity of the conflict, into one of two extreme positions. They could 
say with Charles Hodge that Darwinism and higher criticism was ir- 
reconcilable with Christianity; or they could redefine the relationship 
between science and religion until religion would no longer be seen as 
dependent on historical or scientific fact susceptible of objective in- 
quiry, but would have to do with only the experiential and moral 
aspects of life — areas not open to scientific and historical investiga- 
tion. Religion was already, in fact, being redefined this very way by 
Schleiermacher and Ritschl (advocates of Kant's "categorical im- 
perative"). At this same meeting in 1873, this new direction was sug- 
gested by the most popular American preacher of the day, Henry 
Ward Beecher. 

Beecher and others continued to press the new theology of ex- 
perience. Some say 1877 was the turning point when a minor con- 
troversy over future punishment occurred among the Congrega- 
tionalists. The real shock waves came from abroad. Three strong con- 
cussions were felt almost simultaneously — evolutionary naturalism, 
higher criticism of the Bible, and the newer Idealistic philosophy and 
theology. Theology was no longer viewed as a fixed body of eternally 
valid truths. It was seen rather as an evolutionary development that 
should adjust to the standards and needs of modern culture. 

The conservatism of the Blanchards of Wheaton College and 
Dwight L. Moody's evangelical revivalism played major roles in 
swinging the religious pendulum away from the new liberalism. 
Moody's close friends and younger lieutenants (Reuben A. Torrey, 
James M. Gray, C.I. Scofield, William J. Eerdman, and others) lent 
their able energies and abilities to shaping fundamentalism. 



82 



ARE WE FUNDAMENTALISTS? 

There were four main emphases in early fundamentalism: 
apologetics, holiness, eschatology, and evangelism. In 1910-1915 
twelve paperback volumes, written by "the best and most loyal Bible 
teachers in the world," were published. The funds to publish them 
came from a Southern California millionaire. Among the authors 
were men of the caliber of James Orr, B.B. Warfield, Sir Robert 
Anderson, Reuben A. Toreey, and G. Campbell Morgan. The series 
gave positive, scholarly, conservative expositions of the inspiration 
and authority of Scripture, the deity, virgin birth, supernatural 
miracles, atoning death, physical resurrection and personal return of 
Jesus Christ, the reality of sin, salvation by faith through spiritual 
regeneration, the power of prayer and the duty of evangelism. From 
that time on, it seems to have become habitual for American 
evangelicals to refer to these articles as "the fundamentals." In 1919 
the World Christian Fundamentals Association was formed, and in 
1920, a group of evangelical delegates to the Northern Baptist Con- 
vention held a preliminary meeting among themselves to "re-state, re- 
affirm and re-emphasize the fundamentals of our New Testament 
faith;" whereupon an editorial in the Baptist Watchman-Examiner 
coined the title "Fundamentalists" to denote "those who mean to do 
battle royal for the fundamentals." The word was at once taken up by 
both sides as a title for the defenders of the historic Christian position. 

In almost every major American denomination, sometime be- 
tween the late 1870's and World War I, serious disagreements broke 
out between conservatives and liberals. In these struggles the conser- 
vatives were not necessarily fundamentalists in any strict sense. They 
were first of all denominational conservatives who had their own 
distinct traditions and tenets. Some, like the conservatives among the 
Restoration Movement, were regarded as a part of the fundamenatlist 
movement largely because their aims were parallel and in certain of 
their "battles" they had common opponents. The issues debated most 
intensely centered on the authority of Scripture, its scientific accuracy, 
or the supernatural elements in Christ's person and work. There were 
also parallel and closely related disputes over the distincitive doc- 
trines, such as Calvinism among Presbyterians and the necessity of 
baptism by immersion for church membership among the Disciples of 
Christ. This is the way Marsden (op. cit.) views the contribution of the 
Christian Churches to the fundamentalist movement: 



83 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



When fundamentalism became a national sensation, conservative 
denominational movements with their own traditions and backgrounds 
temporarily joined in the fundamentalist fray. Some of them had only a 
tangential relationship to the rest of fundamentalism. Among Disciples 
of Christ, for instance, although the controversy was as intense as 
among the Presbyterians or Baptists, their conservative party had a 
unique set of interests. They shared with the main body of fundamen- 
talists a strong opposition to liberalism, especially the liberalism 
represented by the former journal of the Disciples, The Christian Cen~ 
tury. The controversy focused, however, on preserving strict Disciples 
traditions, particularly Baptism by immersion. This exclusivism 
separated the Disciples conservatives from other fundamentalists, even 
though both groups recognized some mutual affinities. By the 1920's 
the conservative Disciples 'Restoration Movement' had been battling 
liberals strenuously for a decade and a half. In 1924 at the height of the 
other denominational controversies, the conservatives established the 
Christian Restoration Association which seriously threatened to split the 
denomination. Although a formal schism was averted, within a few 
years separatism had led to the virtual independence of the liberal and 
conservative factions within a loose denominational structure. 

At the North American Christian Convention Theologial Forum, 
summer 1973, Dr. Jack Cottrell, Prof, of Theology at the Cincinnati 
Christian Seminary, made an address on Values in Evangelical 
Theology. It has been published in The Seminary Review, Vol. 19, 
No. 4. This address gives an excellent perspective on the relationship 
of the conservative stream of the Restoration Movement to Fun- 
damentalism. Dr. Cottrell says: 

... in the 1920's the character and reputation of fundamentalism 
changed. The change was not basically in its theological position, but in 
its mood and temperament and attitude. Dispensationalism (including 
its pre-tribulation pre-millennialism) did become a more widespread 
characteristic of this view, but the greatest change was the development 
of a negative attitude, characterized in various ways such as legalism, 
anti-intellectualism, obscurantism, literalism, separatism, bigotry, 
harshness of spirit, and other-worldliness. Today when people speak of 
contemporary fundamentalism, they usually mean this kind of tempera- 
ment. 

... It was as a corrective to this negative attitude that the movement 
called evangelicalism (or the "new evangelicalism") began to emerge in 
the 1940's. In 1942 the National Association of Evangelicals was 
formed. In 1947 Carl Henry indicted The Uneasy Conscience of Modem 



84 



ARE WE FUNDAMENTALISTS? 



Fundamentalism. The Evangelical Theological Society was organized in 
1949. The aim of this new movement was to retain the conservative 
theological position of fundamentalism, but to rid itself of the negative 
attitude. 

This brief historical summary has hopefully clarified the options 
before us. First, one must choose between liberal theology and conser- 
vative, orthodox, supernatural theology. Then, within conservative 
theology, one must choose between fundamentalism and 
evangelicalism. 



Dr. Cottrell concludes that we need to "share with profit" some of 
the theological positions of evangelicalism while avoiding compromis- 
ing the distinctives of the Restoration Plea. 

Are we Fundamentalists? Are we even Evangelicals? No! 
Historically, the Restoration Movement was defending the Biblical 
faith more than a century before the 1920 formation of the Fun- 
damental Association. Alexander Campbell wrote in his personal 
diary, January 29, 1809, "The Word of God, which is contained in the 
Old and New Testaments is the only rule to direct us how we may 
glorify and enjoy him." Mr. Campbell also said: "Reason deciding 
the testimony is true is believing; reason deciding the testimony is false 
is disbelieving; reason unable to decide is skepticism." 

Are we Fundamentalists? Yes! The Restoration Movement was 
leading a return to christian foundations and the fundamentals of the 
faith while others in Christendom were falling away into human 
creeds and traditions. The Restoration Movement is both historically 
and theologically more fundamental than the Fundamentalists. Alex- 
ander Campbell said, in 1842, "The Bible alone must always decide 
every question involving the nature, the character or the designs of the 
Christian institution." 

It is true, historically, that in the 1920's the Restoration Movement 
was invaded with the same deadly liberalism which had ravaged the 
rest of Christendom. And it is true that there were some faithful and 
courageous christians who fought the same battles as the "fundamen- 
talists" were fighting. But it is also true that those same brave, Bible- 
believing christians in the Restoration Movement had been battling 
for a return to the real fundamentals of the faith long before the 
liberalism of the 1920's. 



85 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Theologically 

Most analysts of the phenomenon called "fundamentalism" 
characterize it by its five great fundamental doctrines: (1) the in- 
fallibility of scriptures; (2) the virgin birth of Christ; (3) his substitu- 
tionary atonement; (4) his bodily resurrection; (5) and his visible sec- 
ond advent. The most important of these five is the issue of the in- 
fallibility of scripture. James I. Packer, in his book, Fundamentalism 
and the Word of God, 1958, gives a brief definition of the fundamen- 
talist concept of infallibility: 

... the teaching of the written Scriptures is the Word which God spoke 
and speaks to His Church, and is finally authoritative for faith and life. 
To learn the mind of God, one must consult his written word. What 
Scripture says, God says. The Bible is inspired in the sense of being 
word-for-word God-given. It is a record and explanation of divine 
revelation which is both complete and comprehensible; that is to say, it 
contains all that the church needs to know in this world for its guidance 
in the way of salvation and service, and it contains the principles for its 
own interpretation within itself. 

When this fundamental is granted (the inspiration, infallibility ana 
authority of the scriptures) the other doctrines of fundamentalism, as 
originally stated, follow as a matter of course. "We," (of the conser- 
vative elements of the Restoration Movement) have no difficulty 
believing in the five great tenets of early Fundamentalism. In hun- 
dreds of Christian Chruches throughout this land and the world we 
would find no deviation from these basic beliefs. Conservative 
Restorationists should have no reservations about being classified as 
"fundamentalists" within the tenets just stated. In fact, some of us 
would classify obedience to the gospel terms proclaimed on the Day of 
Pentecost (Acts 2:38) and the unity of all believers on the basis of the 
apostolic word (John 17:20-21) as fundamentals. 

However, the inclination of present-day Fundamentalists to add to 
this body of basics, and to be dogmatic regarding their additions, 
presents a problem to many in the Restoration Movement. Ronald H. 
Nash, in his book, The New Evangelicalism, deplores the tendency of 
contemporary fundamentalists to reduce the Christian message to one 
of salvation alone, to the concept of religious faith as something 



86 



ARE WE FUNDAMENTALISTS? 

separate from everyday life, and the depreciation of scholarship in all 
fields. To these should be added their dogmatic approach to dispensa- 
tional eschatology and their insistence on a "latter day" 
pentecostalism or outpouring of miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Carl 
F.H. Henry speaks of the temperament and attitude of modern fun- 
damentalism as one of the main factors leading to its being 
discredited. He speaks especially of the attitude of rancor and nega- 
tion often found in representatives of the movement: 

By some fundamentalism is considered a summary term for theological 
pugnaciousness, ecumenic disruptiveness, cultural unprogressiveness, 
scientific obliviousness, and/or anti-intellectual inexcusableness. By 
others, fundamentalism is equated with extreme Dispensationalism, 
pulpit sensationalism, excessive emotionalism, social withdrawal, and 
bawdy church music. (What Is This Fundamentalism? by Carl F.H. 
Henry, 1956, p. 303.) 

Contemporary fundamentalism's most conspicuous theological 
aberration seems to be dispensational-premillenialism. Some fun- 
damentalists of great stature rejected dispensationalism. Reuben A. 
Torrey came to recognize it as faulty hermeneutics. G. Campbell 
Morgan also rejected it, saying, "I am quite convinced that all the 
promises made to Israel have found, are finding, and will find their 
perfect fulfillment in the Church. It is true that in the past, in my other 
expositions, I gave definite place to Israel in the purpose of God. I 
have now come to the conviction that it is the new spiritual Israel that 
is intended." 

Nevertheless, dispensationalism is a widely influential position 
within contemporary American fundamentalism. Millard Erickson 
says in his book, Contemporary Options in Eschatology, 1977, pp. 
109-110: 

Because the rise of dispensationalism roughly paralleled that of the fun- 
damentalist movement, it became virtually the official theology of fun- 
damentalism. Some commentators have practically identified the two. 
Some proponents of dispensationalism consider it to be not an inter- 
pretation of the Bible, but simply a restatement of what the Bible says. 
Some have made it a test of orthodoxy, regarding one who fails to hold 
all of its points as one who denies Scripture itself. In many cases a whole 
mind set or collection of attitudes is involved. . . . For the dispensa- 



87 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



tionalist ... the truth of the dispensational system implies the truth of 
pretribulationism, and the falsity of pretribulationalism implies the 
falsity of dispensationalism. For such a person, then, an attack upon 
pretribulationism appears to be an attack upon the whole Christian 
system of belief. His entire Christian experience has been associated 
with this way of believing, and even conditioned to particular terms and 
expressions. . . . We must therefore bear in mind that their sense of 
religious security is bound up with what appear to them to be essentials 
of Christianity. 

Many dispensational premillennialists are so thoroughly convinced 
their eschatological system is essential to loyalty to Christ, they have 
excommunicated dissenters or categorized them as apostates. All sorts 
of anathemas have been pronounced upon non-premillennialists: 

a. ' 'The real hypocrites of our day are those who turn their backs on the 
real message of our day, the Second Coming of our Lord . . . Scripture 
indicts ministers and pastors who refuse to investigate the signs of the 
time leading to Christ's return, and warn the unsaved to prepare, as be- 
ing ignorant, hypocrites, and false prophets. 1974-1978 - Jewish Temple 
rebuilt; 1981-1985 Beginning of the Tribulation; 1997-2001 - The Begin- 
ning of the Kingdom Age." (The Gospel Truth, pub. in Oklahoma City, 
OK) 

b. "Israel is invincible unless God is vulnerable." (from a church paper 
of one of our Christian Churches) 

c. "Opposition to premillennialism had its rise in the attackers of true 
Scriptural doctrine. ..." (The Millennial Kingdom, John F. 
Walvoord, p. 39) 

James Barr writes in his book, Fundamentalism, "The forecasting 
of the end comes to be the central preoccupation, and other things fall 
into the background . . . Millennial interest is also a dangerous threat 
to the unity of evangelicals: millennial schemes are many, and quarrels 
among their adherents are often bitter." 

Clearly, the Restoration Movement's conservative brotherhood 
would be "fundamentalist" in its theology if early fundamentalism is 
our touchstone. Perhaps our Restoration Movement is more fun- 
damental than the Fundamentalist! 

But we must, for the most part of our Movement, disclaim the 
reductionism, the dogmatism, and the hermeneutical aberrations of 
contemporary fundamentalism's theology. 



ARE WE FUNDAMENTALISTS? 

For those interested in further study of the relationship of the 
Restoration Movement to Fundamentalism and/or Evangelicalism, I 
strongly urge the reading of Dr. Jack Cottrell's address cited earlier in 
this essay. Dr. Cottrell forms this conclusion: 

I have suggested that this (Evangelicalism) is a theological position 
which the central stream of the Restoration Movement should and can 
share, with profit and without compromise. This is not a call for organic 
union with any evangelical bodies. This is not necessarily a call for overt 
cooperation with other evangelicals in any kind of projects. Indeed, 
such cooperation is impossible in some areas without compromising our 
plea. For instance, any cooperative effort which presupposes a common 
view of the nature of the church, and common view of the way of salva- 
tion (or which takes our differences as a matter of indifference) is a 
compromise of the Restoration Plea and must be avoided.. In other 
areas, however, such cooperation is possible and even advantageous. 
This is true especially in areas relating to apologetical interests. 

Let me conclude this presentation with an exhortation Bro. R.C. 
Foster made to the Cincinnati Bible Seminary chapel audience on 
November 11, 1958: 

The Cincinnati Bible Seminary arose amid the wreckage of our older 
educational institutions, and our missionary organizations. The silence 
of pacifism had fallen like a pall upon the restoration movement. Many 
feared to proclaim the plain commands of the Gospel lest they offend 
their denominational friends. They feared to speak of the apostasy of 
the great organizations of the restoration movement, of the unbelief 
that sat in the high places, lest they be dubbed controversialists, and the 
heavy hand of the hierarchy be raised against them . . . then it became 
evident that unless a dynamic generation of preachers would be pro- 
duced, men who believed and were able to defend the Gospel against all 
attacks, men who knew and could meet the critical issues at hand, then 
the extinction of the restoration movement is in sight. . . .If the student 
body of this institution once allows itself to be seduced by such ideas as 
this, then the curse of half-hearted pacifism will descend even upon the 
Seminary. 

Let us here, today, resolve we shall not relax our faith in and our 
proclamation of the fundamentals of the "faith once for all 
delivered." 



89 



Chapter Four 

The problem of discouragement 
(4:1-18) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Who would "tamper" with God's word? 

2. Is there a "god" of this world who is not Jehovah? 

3. What "treasure" did Paul have in an "earthen vessel"? 

4. What is the "inner nature" of man? 

5. How can "unseeable" things be seen? 



Section 1 



Machination (4:1-6) 



Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we 
4 do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced disgraceful, 
underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper 
with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we 
would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight 
of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to 
those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has 
blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing 
the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness 
of God. 5 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of 
darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the 
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 

4:1-2 Constraint: Discouragement is a problem for all christians, 
and especially for preachers of the gospel. We have already discussed 
"despair" in our comments on II Corinthians 1:8-11 (see notes there). 
Any preacher who says he has never been disappointed or discouraged 
is either lying or he lives a life completely isolated from any confronta- 
tions between truth and falsehood and other human beings. Even 
Jesus registered disappointment. He was "angry . . . and grieved" 
(Mark 3:5) at the blasphemy of the Pharisees; he "marveled" (actual- 



91 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ly, was astounded or disappointed) at the unbelief of some Jews 
(Mark 6:6). Paul certainly had many discouragements (Most promi- 
nent was his discouragement at the behavior of these christians at Cor- 
inth!); Paul was also disappointed with the christians of Galatia (Gal. 
1:6; 4:16; 5:7, etc.). 

The word, "Therefore" in 4:1 connects what he is to say here im- 
mediately to what he has said in chapter 3. The primary cause of 
Paul's discouragement and disappointment was the hardness and 
perverseness of the Judaizers, "secretly brought in, slipped in to spy 
out . . . freedom which we have in Christ Jesus ..." in Corinth as 
they had done in Galatia (see Gal. 2:2). What disappointed Paul was 
the enslavement, the constraint, the circumscription, the blinding of 
minds that always accompanied the Judaizing of a congregation of 
christians. Paul contrasts his ministry with that of the Judaizers in 
Corinth who were slandering his reputation as one of their methods in 
seducing the congregation. He says, "We (my co-workers and I) have 
this ministry by the mercy of God. ..." On the other hand, "They 
have their (the Judaizers) ministry from disgraceful, underhanded 
ways of cunning and tampering with God's word. ..." The very fact 
that the Corinthians could not recognize the difference between the 
two was discouraging and disappointing to Paul. 

Paul infers that he once was a "Judaizer" himself, when he says, 
"We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. . . '." He once 
was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, considered himself "blameless as to 
the law" Phil. 3:6 and had persecuted the church of God and had tried 
to destroy it, because he was convinced Christianity was blasphemy 
(Gal. 1:13; Acts 9:1-2). At one time in his life Paul gloried in his self- 
righteousness (Phil. 3:4, 9) and made void the word of God by his 
traditions. But when he received the grace of God he renounced all 
that. And he recognized that in his former life he had done disgraceful 
(Gr. aischunes, shameful, fearful) and underhanded (Gr. krupta, 
cryptic, secret, hidden) things. He had to practice cunning (Gr. 
panourgia, literally, "all working, or doing anything" thus, deceit, 
subtleness) and he had to tamper with God's word (Gr. dolountes, to 
dilute, to water-down, to adulterate) in order to be a Pharisee (see 
Matt. 15:1-20; 23:1-39). Paul knew exactly how the Judaizers were 
deceiving the Corinthians. He knew because he had been one! 

Now the Corinthians must be warned. These Judaizers are " deceit - 



92 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

ful workmen" (II Cor. 11:13); they conduct their work secretly (Gal. 
2:4); they adulterate the word of God by their traditions (Matt. 15:6). 
The necessary consequence of adopting legalism as a way of justifica- 
tion is "watering down" the word of the gospel. By suggesting that 
christians voluntarily come under the law or Pharisaic traditions the 
Judaizers would have to dilute the spiritual obligation of the christian 
to go beyond the law (as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, 
and as Paul taught in I Corinthians 8, 9, 10), in his devotion and obe- 
dience toward God. This is always the way of legalistic living. Those 
who preach legalism think they are making godliness more certain, 
when, as a matter of fact, they are diluting the power of godliness. 
Legalism always creates self-righteousness and that is a drastic dilu- 
tion of total righteousness imputed to believers through the grace of 
Christ. It is true that man needs divine guidelines and principles to 
help him determine what the will of the Lord is for a life of holiness 
under grace, but these guidelines and principles must never be 
perverted into legalism as a means of justification. 

As Applebury points out, "There are various ways to use the word 
of God deceitfully, or to tamper with it. Using a Bible text to preach a 
'sermon' that has little or nothing to do with the Bible is one of the 
common ways of doing it. Teaching it accurately, but refusing to live 
by it is equally deceitful." (see our notes on II Cor. 2:17 for comments 
on "peddlers of God's word"). 

We usually think of "watering down" God's word as an exclusive 
practice of liberal-minded theologians who deny the supernatural ele- 
ment of the scriptures, or the moral absoluteness of Christianity. 
Legalists always think of themselves as protecting the word of God 
from being adulterated. But Paul is talking about the legalists "water- 
ing down" God's word! 

The Greek phrase, pros pasan suneidesin anthropon, could well be 
translated, ". . . to every kind of consciousness of men. . . ." Paul 
continually commended (Gr. sunistanontes, present tense verb, 
"standing-with") himself to all men by his open statement of (Gr. 
phanerosei, manifestation of) the truth (the gospel). He openly stated 
the gospel to every consciousness of men; he made his appeals for 
their loyalty to God to every kind of judgment that men use — to 
logic, to gratitude, to feeling, to scriptures, to common sense. He was 
underhanded with no one! 



93 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

While Paul was discouraged and disappointed that the Judaizers 
were using disgraceful and underhanded ways and tampering with the 
word of God; and while he was disappointed that some of the Corin- 
thians had been robbed of their freedom by these legalists, Paul did 
not lose heart. He did not "cave in" and give up his ministry. He had 
confidence in the gospel stated openly and clearly. He knew the 
"seed" (the gospel, Luke 8:11; Mark 4:14) had the power in itself 
(Mark 4:26-29) to accomplish that for which God sends it (Isa. 
55: 10-1 1). Paul knew that the matter of sowing seed required patience, 
humility and faith on the part of the sower. He knew that the "seed" 
grows slowly, and in divine order — first the blade, then the ear, then 
the full grain in the ear. He did not lose heart.. He knew that even if 
three-fourths of the seed fell on unproductive soil in Corinth he would 
be judged by Christ only on his faithfulness to sow the seed and not on 
his "success" in making the seed grow and mature. The responsibility 
for germination, and growth, lies with the soil and the seed — not the 
sower! DO NOT LOSE HEART, PREACHER. 

4:3-4 Confounding: Of all the machinations of the legalists, their 
league with the devil to blind the minds of unbelievers to keep them 
from seeing the light of the gospel is the most insidious. The scrip- 
tural, spiritual blindness of so many is one of the most discouraging 
things a preacher of the gospel must face. 

In spite of his open statement of the truth, Paul acknowledges that 
the gospel truth had not won universal acceptance. Some, even of the 
Corinthians, had been blinded to it. The Greek work kekalummenon 
is the perfect tense participle of a verb we have already seen in II Cor- 
inthians 3:13-14, and signifies here that the gospel had been previously 
"veiled" and continued to be "veiled" in the minds of these 
unbelievers. The perfect tense participle kekalummenon is used in 
both instances in 4:4. This definitely connects the subjects of chapter 
three to the subjects of chapter four. The "veil" was Judiastic 
legalism and it had been accomplished by the Judaizers long before 
Paul wrote this letter and it was continuing. 

The gospel is "veiled" to those "perishing" (Gr. apollumenois, 
present tense participle of apollumi, to kill, to utterly destroy, to bring 
to nothing). They were in a continual state of perishing. Legalism as a 
means of justification is condemning. The legalist is under the judg- 
ment of God because he seeks to be justified by law, while the Scrip- 



94 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

tures unequivocally say, "By the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 
2:16). 

The scheme by which the devil (working through legalists) brings 
about the destruction of the unwary is "blinding the minds of the 
unbelievers." Legalism (the system of justification by works of the 
law) blinds and veils the minds of those who do not believe in justifica- 
tion by the free gift of God's mercy apart from the law. The Greek 
word etuphlosen is translated "blinded" and comes from the root 
word tuph which means, "to burn, or, to smoke." It is used 
metaphorically of the dulling of the intellect (John 12:41; I John 
2:11). Paul says the "god of this world" puts up a "smoke-screen" 
which bedazzles the unbeliever's mind. 

The phrase, "this world," is a translation of the Greek words tou 
aionos. This does not mean the devil is ruler of creation. Jehovah God 
is the absolute Sovereign of all creation — including the devil. There is 
no religious dualism taught in the Bible. There is no Biblical doctrine 
of two eternal, coexisting deities, one evil and one good, engaged in a 
"showdown" for supremacy over human life. Such supernatural 
dualism is Zoroastrianism (Persian religion) and not Biblical. God 
alone is God. Satan, however, has usurped the place which God 
should have in some minds and deeds. Jehovah rules the world. The 
devil is only the pretended ruler (see Jer. 27:5-11; Psa. 50:10:15; 
Daniel 2:21-22; Rom. 13:1-7; I Pet. 2:13-17; John 12:31; 16:11). Jesus 
was able to order demons (colleagues of the devil) to do anything he 
wanted them to do. He cast demons out of people; sent them back to 
the abyss; gave them permission to inhabit swine. Jesus even com- 
manded the devil to leave him after his temptation, and the devil 
obeyed. The devil is referred to as a "god" in the Bible because some 
people have been seduced by him into believing they can be justified 
by works of law — legalism. This is a deception by the devil. God 
never intended his law for justification. By this deception the devil has 
blinded their minds and brought them under his influence. 

The phrase "this world." means, "this present. evil age" (Gal. 
1:4). It means, a worldly-mentality, a fleshly orientation (see Eph. 
2:1-3, etc.). Satan is the "prince" of the spirit of disobedience and 
rebellion against God. He is the leader, the first rebel, and totally op- 
posed to the mind of the Spirit. Out of Satan's obsession for 
everything hateful, hurtful and hellish, he seeks to influence every 



95 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

human being he can to surrender to his wicked influence. Satan wants 
to rule, and pretends to rule, but he also knows he is subject to the 
sovereignty of God (see our comments on Revelation 12:12, in 26 
Lessons on Revelation, pub. College Press). The devil is the leader 
("god") of rebellion against Almighty God, but he is not the ruler of 
anything or anyone. The devil is not even the ruler of hell. Satan will 
be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone along with every other 
rebel sinner and will suffer torment just like the others. Jehovah-God, 
through the Lamb, Jesus Christ, rules as Absolute Sovereign forever. 
He, alone, is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. He 
alone has the keys of Death and Hades. Of course, the devil has the 
major portion of the world deceived into believing that evil rules this 
world and will triumph — that truth and goodness has been subjected 
to wickedness and injustice. But the incarnation of God (Jesus Christ) 
and his resurrection from the dead proves just the opposite. The resur- 
rection of Jesus Christ is precisely that "light of the gospel of the glory 
of Christ" upon which the devil focuses his most intense deception. If 
he can blind the minds of unbelievers as to the reality of the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, he can keep them from seeing the sovereignty of God 
and Christ and thus seduce them into thinking he is the "god of this 
world." 

4:5-6 Conceitedness: A discouraging and disappointing thing to 
Paul, the preacher, was the conceit of those at Corinth who "preached 
themselves." They were probably Judaizers or some who had been 
"discipled" by the Judaizers. The promotion of self was definitely a 
characteristic of legalism (see Gal. 6:11-16). Self-glorification is the 
very essence of legalism. Thinking oneself to be justified by works of 
the law is always accompanied by conceit, pride, hypocrisy and ar- 
rogance. 

The people stirring up trouble and attacking the reputation of Paul 
in Corinth, whether Judaizers or not, were preaching themselves. 
They were comparing themselves and measuring themselves "with one 
another" instead of Christ, the perfect standard, and were, as Paul 
says, "without understanding: (II Cor. 10:12). 

Paul preached nothing of himself among the Corinthians. He 
always preached Jesus Christ as Lord, and apostles as servants (Gr. 
doulous, bond-slave) for the sake of Christ. Jesus was Lord, apostles 
were slaves serving every command of Jesus. That is the way Paul 



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THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

preached and lived. The Corinthian christians could not deny that! 
Paul never measured himself by other human beings, nor even by his 
own standards (see I Cor. 4:1-5). He always measured his ministry and 
his life by the standard of God — the perfect Son. That is why Paul 
was always thinking of himself as a slave for Christ. 

This conceit of the Corinthians was the cause of the divisions 
within the congregation (see I Cor. l:10ff). They measured one 
teacher against another instead of measuring them all against Christ. 

Paul always preached Christ Jesus (not himself) because God 
chose to enlighten the minds of men through the knowledge of Christ. 
Legalism blinds (because Satan uses it to blind men's minds); 
knowledge (intellectual and experiential) of Christ enlightens man 
about the glory of God, (see John 1:4-5; 8:12; Acts 26:12-18). God is 
light, and in him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5-10), but legalism 
which refuses to admit sin is a lie and is darkness. Conceit is darkness 
— it cannot behold the glory of God — it cannot abide in God. 

The Lord Jesus was disappointed and discouraged with the conceit 
of the self-righteous Pharisees and Jewish rulers which made them so 
spiritually blind (see Matt. 15:14; Luke 6:39; Matt. 23:16, 17, 19, 26; 
John 9:39-41). Paul rebuked his Jewish brethren for their spiritual 
blindness (Rom. 2:19). Peter warned against spiritual blindness 
through conceit (I Pet. 1 :9). Christ accused a whole church of spiritual 
blindness because of its arrogance (Rev. 3:17). 

The practice of legalism resulting in arrogance and self-righteous 
comparisons have wreaked havoc within many modern congregations 
of christians and caused untold numbers of preachers of the Gospel to 
become discouraged and quit their ministries. 



SECTION 2 

Mortality (4:7-15) 

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the 
transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are af- 
flicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven 
to despair; 'persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not 
destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so 



97 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. n For 
while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' 
sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal 
flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 

4:7 Of The Dust: The servants of the Lord have their "treasure" 
(the glory of God in the Spirit of Christ) in "earthen vessels." The 
Greek word ostrakinois is translated "earthen" and is the word from 
which we get the English word ostraca (inscribed potsherds) — a word 
familiar to archaeologists. The Greek word skeuesin is the regular 
word for "vessel." 

Paul is reminding the Corinthians of the mortality of human be- 
ings, even of apostles, for the purpose of puncturing the inflated egos 
of the Judaizers in their midst. Human mortality is a stark reality that 
often produces moments of discouragement and depression for all 
preachers of the Gospel. The Judaizers were proud of themselves. 
They gloried in their own greatness (self-righteousness). The apostle 
states a truth that all human beings should remember constantly — 
man is as frail as the dust from which his earthly body is made. He is 
worthless when compared with the treasure he holds — the glory of 
Christ. 

This constant fact demonstrates that the power available to man 
through Christ in him transcends anything of which he is mortally 
capable. The gospel transforms the very being of man. It regenerates 
and renews him. He sees nothing from a human point of view after the 
gospel has been received in his heart and mind. He has a divine 
perspective (see II Cor. 5:16ff). He has hope, faith, and power to 
overcome wickedness. But he has all this in an "earthen vessel" that is 
dying, wasting away. So he knows the power does not come from 
himself. Legalism, on the other hand, has only self-righteousness and 
is powerless because it is self-condemning. It has only the "earthen 
vessel" to glory in and aggrandize — and that is manifestly futile! 

If christians did not have the precious promises of God's grace 
through the Spirit of Christ, the fact of their mortality would be 
depressing and unbearable. There are still moments, in every 
christian's life (even of apostles) if they are honest, that their mortality 
is discouraging and depressing. Only by resting in the hope of eternal 
life in heaven is such depression overcome. The grace of God is the 



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THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

"treasure" believer's hold in "earthen vessels." 

4:8-10 Often Downtrodden: Paul, and his co-workers in the 
Gospel were continually, and in every way, pressured. The Greek 
word thlibomenoi is translated "afflicted" but means "pressed, com- 
pressed, squeezed." In addition to all the emotional and mental 
pressures brought to bear upon Paul from his enemies, there was his 
constant anxiety (Gr. merimna, "care," II Cor, 11:28) for the chur- 
ches, and for individual brothers-in-Christ. There is tremendous 
pressure upon the emotions and mind of any person in the ministry. 
The constant carping and criticism most preachers and missionaries 
have to endure just from church members is enough to cause 
"ministerial burn-out." Couple criticism with the miserly financial 
remuneration most full-time gospel workers are often grudgingly 
allotted, no wonder that many of them pursue other vocations for the 
spiritual and physical survival of their families. Many faithful 
preachers struggle mightily under pressure, refusing to follow per- 
sonal inclinations to "quit the ministry" while they watch their own 
children rebel against the church, destroy their own marriages, and oc- 
casionally suffer untimely heart-attacks or other diseases which crip- 
ple them in the prime of life. 

Perhaps part of the fault for "ministerial burn-out" may be at- 
tributed to a lack of commitment or lack of faith on the part of the 
preachers. But the churches must bear part of the blame for this 
tragedy, too, just as the congregation at Corinth was part of the 
reason for the constant pressure experienced by the great apostle Paul. 

Although Paul literally experienced the pressures of the ministry, 
he never considered himself "crushed." Actually, the Greek word is 
stenochoroumenoi and means, "crowded into a narrow place." We 
get our English word stenography from the two Greek words, steno 
and graphe, meaning, "shortened writing." It is impossible to 
eliminate pressure in the ministry. It will never cease this side of 
Glory. But it is possible for ministers to endure pressure until the Lord 
calls them home. Paul learned to be content in whatever state he 
found himself (Phil. 4:10-13). He cast all his cares upon the grace of 
God and found that when he was weakest, he was strongest (II Cor. 
12:7-10). Paul rested in the fact that while God allows men to be tested 
under pressure, God also provides a way of escape so that no man is 
tested beyond what he is able to endure (I Cor. 10: 13). Let no preacher 



99 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

think he is tested or pressured where no other preacher has ever been 
pressured, or that he cannot endure it. 

Next, Paul declares he has been "perplexed" (Gr. aporoumenoi, 
from two Greek words, a privative, and poros, "a way," meaning 
literally, "deprived of a way," or "without means"), but "not 
despairing" (Gr. exaporoumenoi, a compound of the previous word 
aporoumenoi, this time with the prefix, ex, "out from" attached). 
Paul is saying there were times when he was "perplexed" but he 
always came "out from his perplexity." Barclay paraphrases, "We 
are at our wit's end, but never at our hope's end." Indeed, every 
minister of the gospel has experienced perplexity, puzzlement, confu- 
sion and perhaps doubt. And he gets discouraged. He sometimes 
blames himself, sometimes he blames others. Occasionally he burdens 
himself with guilt because he believes that he, as a spiritual leader of 
God's flock, should never experience confusion or doubt. But the 
preacher (and every christian), even though experiencing times when 
he does not know what is to be done, can be faithful to Christ never 
doubting that something can be done, and mil be done, ultimately by 
the Lord to serve his glorious purpose. Even Jesus experienced 
perplexity and a "troubled soul" (John 11:33; 12:27; Matt. 26:38; 
Luke 12:50). But Jesus endured it (did not resolve it) by resigning 
himself to the care of God's blessed will (". . . nevertheless, not my 
will, but thine be done."). 

The next statement is: "persecuted but not forsaken;" (Gr. 
diokomenoi all' ouk egkataleipomenoi). Diokomenoi may be 
translated, "pursued." That is what a persecutor does — pursues in 
order to catch and abuse or destroy. The Pharisees pursued Jesus like 
a pack of hounds. The Jews pursued Paul from city to city trying to 
destroy him and his ministry. Persecutors never give up, they stay 
"hot on the trail" of their victim. Egkataleipomenoi is an intense 
form of the word which means to "leave behind." Jesus used this 
word on the cross when he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me?" While God forsook Jesus, punishing all sin in him, 
God will never forsake the minister of the gospel or any other christian 
because of Christ's gracious death in their place. It is a real temptation 
for any servant of the Lord who is persecuted for his loyalty to Jesus' 
to despair and consider himself abandoned by the Lord. Elijah, 
hounded by Jezebel, believed he was all alone because God had not 



100 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

come down in a whirlwind or fire (I Kgs. 19). Jesus has promised that 
he will not leave us "desolate" (John 14:18, Gr. orphanous, "or- 
phans"). Jesus has promised that he will be with us until the end of the 
age (Matt. 28:20). The question, when we are being hounded by the 
persecutors, is: DO WE BELIEVE HIM ... DO WE TRUST HIM? 

The apostle's last phrase in this quadruplet is poignant with allu- 
sion to boxing in the Greek games. Paul says, ". . . struck down but 
not destroyed" (Gr. kataballoumenoi all' ouk apollumenoi). J.B. 
Phillips translates, ". . .we may be knocked down but we are never 
knocked out!" That is a good translation. Barclay says, "The 
supreme characteristic of the Christian is not that he does not fall, but 
that every time he falls he rises again. It is not that he is never beaten, 
but he is never ultimately defeated. He may lose a battle, but he knows 
that in the end he can never lose the campaign." Paul, himself, was 
knocked down many times, but never knocked out. And when he was 
in prison, apparently facing the executioner's axe, he eagerly an- 
ticipated the ultimate victory — the "crown of righteousness" (II 
Tim. 4:6-8). 

This is the only recourse for the "knocked down" minister of the 
gospel today. There are no "quick fixes" or "sure-fire defenses" 
against being "knocked down" if one takes up full-time service in the 
vineyard of the Lord. There is only the assurance that there will be 
"knock-downs," "bumps," "bruises," "persecutions" (see Mark 
10:30; Matt. 20:22-23; John 15:18-21; II Tim. 3:12). Life is full of 
defeats for every christian (and especially preachers) just as well as for 
non-christians, but the christian hopes in the blessed assurance of 
Christ's word that finally, and eternally, he will have nothing but vic- 
tory in the next life. That is a hope the non-christian does not have. 
The Bible promises the unbeliever an existence in the next life of eter- 
nal defeat! The eternal destiny of the unbeliever is to be "crushed, 
despairing, forsaken, destroyed" — just the opposite of Paul's hope. 

Finally, the christian minister, as Paul states, may be tempted to 
despair because he has covenanted with Christ to "always carry in the 
body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be 
manifested. ..." Paul is not talking about the physical death of Jesus 
here. No man, not even Paul, may duplicate in his body the substitu- 
tionary, atoning death of Jesus on the cross. Paul is talking about the 
death to re// that Jesus accomplished in the flesh on earth in total sur- 



101 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

render to the will of God. Paul states the idea clearly in Galatians 
2:20; 5:24; 6:14. Paul discusses it at length in Romans, chapters 6 
through 8. Jesus demanded it of those who would follow him (Matt. 
10:38-39; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 14:25-33; 17:33). Jesus demonstrated it 
in his every action, but especially in his willingness to put self to death 
and go to the cross (see John 12:27; Matt. 26:36-39). For the finest 
discussion of this in writing today, see Learning From Jesus, by Seth 
Wilson, chapter XVI, "New Life Through Accepting Jesus' Death." 
pg. 495, pub. College Press. 

Paul is talking about "bearing about" (Gr. peripherontes) in his 
life ("body") the same surrender of self (death to self) demonstrated 
by Jesus. Paul was eager to "share" (participate) in his (Christ's) suf- 
ferings (Phil. 3:10-11), and become like him (Christ) in his death, in 
order to attain the resurrection from the dead. Paul "died every day"! 
(I Cor. 15:31). By all this Paul did not mean, of course, the kind of 
death Jesus dies on the cross, which only Jesus, exclusively, could die. 
Paul meant the kind of death Jesus died every day to self. 

One of the reasons the preacher sometimes despairs in his daily 
crucifixion of self, is the seeming injustice and unfairness in such con- 
stant abnegation. He often questions, "Will my sacrifice of self ever 
be vindicated?" "Will it ever be rewarded with something besides the 
exploitation I experience on this earth?" Jesus, the Messiah, ex- 
perienced the same depression (see Isa. 49:1-7; 50:4-8; 53:1-12)! But 
God vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead! 

The only way the preacher and the christian manifests the "life of 
Jesus" while he is dying to self in this mortal body is by his faith in the 
word of God as he trusts it and obeys it. There is no physical, material 
way for mortal man to manifest eternal life which Jesus manifested in 
his physical resurrection. No one has risen from the dead since Jesus 
(and those resurrections performed by the apostles). Not one of the 
apostles literally, physically arose from the dead. Paul, then, is talking 
about a manifestation of faith in obedience to God's word. That is 
how we manifest the life of Jesus — in dying to self! 

4:11-12 Obviously Dying: Paul says, "while we live (not after we 
die, but while we live) we are always being given up to death for Jesus' 
sake." In verse 10 Paul spoke of the "death" the christian chooses 
when he decides to follow Jesus. It is the self-surrender made by 
deliberate, free choice of the individual. In verse 11 Paul tells us God 



102 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

also places us in circumstances where we have to die whether we like it 
or not. The Greek verb paradidometha ("being given up") is passive! 

Everyone experiences, sooner or later, situations in which no mat- 
ter how much they want to exalt self they cannot. God knows how to 
give us all "thorns in the flesh" to keep us from "being too elated" (II 
Cor. 12:7ff). That is exactly where God wants every person, occa- 
sionally, because out of such situations and experiences God is "slay- 
ing" the sinful self so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our 
mortality. 

And, as Paul said of his "dying." others are perhaps being given 
life because of the "death" to self we are dying (v. 12). We must die 
(spiritually), not only in order that we may live, but that others may 
live also! Our "death" to self must be obvious so that others may see 
and glorify God in their own lives. God in his providential disciplining 
offers us ways and means to make that "death" obvious. But it takes 
strong faith to accept the ways and means ! It seemed to Paul that he 
was "always" being "slain" by God (see II Cor. 1:3-11; 11:22-33; 
12:1-10). The Greek work energeitai, present tense, middle voice, 
means, death is operating, or being energized, in the christian as he 
daily "dies" to self. 

The "death" of self is not easy. Christ never pretended following 
him would be without pressure, persecution and provocation. The 
way of self-surrender is narrow and difficult (Matt. 7:14; 19:24). But 
look what happens! 

In verse 13 Paul quotes from Psalm 116:10. That entire Psalm 
should be read to get the benefit of the context. The Psalmist declares 
by faith that the trials and pressures he is going through are going to 
have some effect and impact in his surroundings. He cannot see it yet, 
but he says it is going to be true because God has promised it. Paul af- 
firms that since christians have the same spirit of faith as the Psalmist, 
they may believe just as surely that their "dying" to self will produce 
the same praise for God and his Son in the life of the believer and in 
others to whom it is obvious. 

Verse 14 is one of the most precious promises in the New Testa- 
ment. On the basis of the historical, actual, physical resurrection of 
Jesus Christ, the believer may anticipate being presented by Jesus to 
God the Father. Our resurrection and ushering into the presence of 
our gracious Heavenly Father is dependent upon Jesus' atoning 



103 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

redemption and justifying resurrection. He is the first fruits of our 
glorification (I Cor. 15:20ff). Peter wrote that Christ died for us that 
he might present us to God (I Pet. 3:18). And Paul wrote, "And you, 
who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has 
not reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you 
holy and blameless and irreproachable before him" (Col. 1:21-22). 

If we "die" to self through faith in Jesus, because of his resurrec- 
tion, it will be obvious, and it will be not only for our sake but for the 
sake of all others who know us. And "as grace extends to more and 
more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God." Has 
anyone thanked God lately, because they know you have "died" to 
self through the grace of Christ? 



SECTION 3 

Misgivings (4:16-18) 

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is 
wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. 17 For 
this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal 
weight of glory beyond all comparison, I8 because we look not to 
the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the 
things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen 
are eternal. 

4:16 Wasting: Paul looks back to the statements he made earlier 
about the "life" that is available in Jesus (4:6, 10). This "life" is 
verified by the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This 
is the basis upon which Paul is able to say, "So we do not lose heart." 
Without this historical basis depression and despair sets in when one 
contemplates his mortality. 

One of the great problems which each of (including preachers) has 
to face is, "I am going to die!" Sooner or later, it strikes all of us 
that "our outer nature is wasting away!" Infirmity, disease, the death 
of loved ones or close friends, or even the knowledge of the death of 
those in our own neighborhoods or communities makes us ever aware 
that our turn at death is inevitable. We often make concerted effort to 



104 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

sublimate such thoughts, but they keep recurring nevertheless. And 
even christians occasionally succumb to depression when con- 
templating their "wasting away." Depression at the contemplation of 
death was most certainly a temptation to the saints of the Old Testa- 
ment (see Isa. 38:9-20; Job 17:1-16, etc.). Almost everyone, if they are 
completely honest, have moments of misgiving, fear, anxiety and 
discouragement knowing they must die. 

But, says Paul, we need not "lost heart." The Greek word Paul 
used was egkakoumen, from ek and kakos, literally, "eviled out." In 
other words, there is no need for the christian to be "wiped out" or 
completely "devastated" by the fact of his physical mortality. There 
are times when even Paul was at the point of despair over his mortality 
(see II Cor. 1:8; II Tim. 1:15; 4:9-16). But he always conquered that 
temptation by remembering the life that was his in Christ Jesus. 

The "outer nature" is, in the Greek text, ho exo hemon anthropos; 
literally, the outer of us, mankind. Paul is speaking of the humanness 
or the fleshly part of our being — our mortal bodies. That part is 
wasting away (Gr. diaphtheiretai, being disabled). Our disabilities 
prove our mortality. 

But while our body is decaying, our inner nature (Gr. ho eso 
hemon, lit. "the inner of us") is being renewed (Gr. anakainoutai, lit. 
"again made different"). The Greek word anakainoutai does not 
mean renewed in the sense of recently, but in the sense of differently. 
It is best explained in Paul's statement in II Corinthians 3:18 — 
"... being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to 
another. ..." This renewal is, not something that is determined emo- 
tionally or mystically. It is something that may be judged objectively 
by comparing the transformation that is taking place in our minds and 
wills and choices as we compare our lives with the life of Jesus Christ 
documented in the Bible. It is the process of sanctification. We are 
sanctified by the truth (see John 17:17) John wrote his first epistle to 
tell christians that they may know when they are being renewed. John 
says we know it when we know we are keeping Christ's command- 
ments. God created us and sent Christ to redeem us in order that we 
may be "conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8:28-29). And ( 
God works that conformity in our lives through disciplining our minds 
so we set them on the things of the Spirit (see Rom. 8:1-25). Thus 
when our inner man (our spirit) is in agreement with His Spirit 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

(according to His written word), (Rom. 8:12-17) we know we are 
children of God and we know our inner man is being made different 
(renewed). The experience is not to be judged subjectively, but objec- 
tively. 

This renewal is not something that only happens at "mountain 
top" moments of spirituality. The apostle says it occurs, hemera kai 
hemera, "day after day." It happens in the every-day experiences of 
life. It takes place during "the sufferings of this present time" (Rom. 
8: 18:39). It takes place when we "share in his (Christ's) sufferings" 
(Phil. 3:10-11). It takes place during our earthly chastenings (Heb. 
12:1-17). Even the constant reminder of our "wasting away" con- 
tributes to it. But primarily, it happens in the every-day conformity of 
our minds and lives to the commandments of the Spirit of God in his 
word. 

4:17 Weariness: Next Paul mentions the "slight momentary afflic- 
tion." It is "slight" and "momentary," but is is affliction never- 
theless! There is a depressing weariness about the constant afflictions 
reminding us of our "wasting away." It haunts us and tires us out as it 
hounds us every day of our life on earth. It may come in many forms, 
but it is always there. 

Paul was always "in a strait betwixt the two" (Phil. 1:23) when he 
contemplated his mortality. The Greek word sunechomai is translated 
"strait" in Philippians 1:23. It means, pressed together, pressurized. 
The thought of departing this life for the next bothered and pressured 
Paul. 

And another pressing problem by all mortals (including 
preachers)surfaces in this text. "What is waiting for me when I die?" 
Most atheistic philosophies answer, "Nothing!" They believe 
(they believe because they have no empirical knowledge about after- 
death) human beings perish or cease to exist after death. There is no 
life beyond death for the atheist. Such belief leads to hedonism (see I 
Cor. 15:32-34) which leads to immorality and ultimately, to despair. 
Atheistic unbelief in eternal life has spawned the existential "mean- 
inglessness" of life in our century which has produced so much 
despair, depression, civil disobedience, and suicide. (For illustrations, 
of this, see Special Studies, Evolution; Unscientific & Immoral] 
Unbelief Is Deliberate; and, God - Fact or Fiction at the end of this 
chapter.) On the other hand, the common "philosophy of Main Street 



106 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

U.S.A." is that in the after-life, anything can happen! The 
possibilities are so multitudinous you simply live your life and take 
your choice (or your chances). This view is based on wishful thinking 
and the delusions of human self-righteousness. It is also kindled by 
uncertain and controversial experiences of people (perhaps demonic 
deception) who claim to have died and returned to life. Such ex- 
periences are so vague, contradictory and non-verifiable, they are not 
worth considering genuine. They are based on no objectivity — only 
the individual's subjective experience. The resurrection from the dead 
of Jesus Christ, on the other hand, was verified objectively and em- 
pirically by hundreds of eyewitnesses. 

Because of Jesus' historically verified resurrection, we believe his 
claims. We therefore believe the claims of his apostles that what they 
have written is divine revelation, inspired by God's Holy Spirit, and 
inerrantly delivered to mankind in human language. What the apostle 
Paul says about the existence of life after death and the nature of that 
life is acceptable as a reality. "Faith (the christian faith) is the 
assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" 
(Heb. 11:1). The christian faith in the nature of life after death is 
based on the teaching of the only man (Jesus Christ) who, as far as 
history records, has ever clearly, openly, and ultimately survived 
death. According to the eyewitnessed record of his life, this Jesus not 
only raised others from the dead, he completely conquered death 
himself. He sent his apostles to promise a glorious existence for all 
who believe in him and keep his commandments after the death of 
their bodies. They are promised "paradise" with him (see Luke 
23:43). 

We must never forget, however, that there is a direct tie between 
the afflictions of our "wasting away" in this physical life and the 
glory that is to be ours in the next life. The one is preparing for the 
other. No matter how great the trial may seem to us, compared with 
what is coming it is relatively slight. No trial, no pain, no isolation, no 
heartache, no loneliness, no weakness or failure, no sense of being put 
aside, is without significance. All of it is playing its part in ac- 
complishing God's work in our lives and the lives of others. It is 
building for us an incomparable weight of glory. This one verse (4:17) 
is perhaps the most majestic verse in all the Bible! The hope of the 
christian is a glory that has nothing on earth by which it may be com- 



107 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

pared! Gather together all the fame, riches, power, beauty, glory and 
capabilities ever experience in all of history — put all this in one huge 
pile, and it is not even worth comparing with the glory that shall 
belong to the christian in the next life! It staggers the imagination! It is 
beyond human language, beyond human experience — not even an 
apostle could find words to describe it (see II Cor. 12:2-4). 

The Greek verb katergazetai ("is preparing" or "is achieving, ac- 
complishing, producing, working") describes the action being done by 
the subject of the sentence which is to parautika elaphron tes 
thlipseos, "the slight momentary affliction." It is the affliction of this 
present life which is producing for us the eternal weight of glory. The 
Greek verb katergazetai is present, active, indicative, meaning that the 
affliction is continuing, is constantly, working or preparing our glory. 
The preparation (affliction) never ceases so long as we are in this life. 

Affliction, trial, testing can never defeat the faithful believer in 
Christ. God uses it all to work out ultimate good. That which seems 
bad and undesirable becomes man's servant through the merciful 
grace of God. 

The believer's afflictions are working an eternal weight of glory 
beyond all comparison. That phrase, "beyond all comparison," is in 
the Greek test: huperbolen eis huperbolen. The phrase might be 
translated, "excessively unto excess." The word huperbolen literally 
means, "cast beyond." It is a magnificent sequence of Greek words to 
express the incomparable — the unimaginable, the incomprehensible. 
What God has laid up for the faithful believer is inexpressible. It is 
unsearchable (see Job. 5:9; Psa. 145:3; Rom. 11:33; Eph. 3:8). 

That literary giant, C.S. Lewis, has given perhaps the best human 
attempt (outside the Scriptures) to describe the "eternal weight of 
glory . . . beyond all comparison" in his book entitled, The Weight 
of Glory. Lewis says it is "fame with God, approval or . . . apprecia- 
tion by God." He continues: 

... no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious 
in a child ... as its great and undisguised pleasure in being 
praised . . . and that is enough to raise our thoughts to what may hap- 
pen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, 
learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. 
There will be no room for vanity then. She will be free from the 
miserable illusion that it is her doing. With no taint of what we should 



108 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 



now call self-approval she will most innocently rejoice in the thing that 
God has made her to be, and the moment which heals her old inferiority 
complex forever will also drown her pride. ... If God is satisfied with 
the work, the work may be satisfied with itself. . . . The promise of 
glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of 
Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually 
survive that examination (the judgment), shall find approval, shall 
please God. To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the divine hap- 
piness ... to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an 
artist delights in his word or a father in a son — it seems impossible, a 
weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so 
it is. 

In another paragraph, C.S. Lewis waxes even more eloquently: 

We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star. I think I 
begin to see what it means. In one way, of course, God has given us the 
Morning Star already. You can go and enjoy the gift on many fine 
mornings if you get up early enough. What more, you may ask, do we 
want? Ah, but we want so much more — something the books on 
aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know 
all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, 
even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly 
be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, 
to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. (And then 
he adds these words:) The door on which we have all been knocking all 
our lives will open at last. 



The three apostles, Peter, James and John, were permitted to 
glimpse a veiled portion of that incomparable glory when they saw 
Jesus transfigured (Gr. metamorphothe, "changed in form") (see 
Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:29). It 'will be, as nearly as human 
language can describe it, somewhat similar to John's description of 
the pre-existent Christ (John 1:1-18) and the risen, glorified Christ 
(Rev. 1:12-16; 5:16-14; 19:11-16). Peter describes his experience of 
Christ's transfiguration from mortality to immortality in II Pet? 
1:16-21. Paul describes what he experienced of the glory of Christ in 
Acts 9:3-9 - 22:6-11; 26:12-15; II Cor. 12:2-4). And even those fall 
short. For our eternal weight of glory is, by definition, beyond com- 
parison, outside human experience. All intelligible descriptions of it, 
however, must be of things within our experience — and all the while 



109 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

we must believe it is beyond that. If Heaven could tell me no more of 
my future glory than my own experience in this life would lead me to 
expect, then Heaven would be no higher and greater than my ex- 
perience and no greater than this creation. But it is higher and greater. 
And that I trust on the word of God and his Son, Jesus Christ. And 
that is Paul's next point. There is a weariness while we suffer this 
slight momentary affliction. But we must not lose heart. We must 
believe that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. 

4:18 Wistfulness: One of the problems preachers often face is a 
temptation to case a wistful (pensive, melancholic) "eye" on the 
things of the world. He is occasionally tempted to look back, after 
having "put his hand to the plow," and wish he could find relief from 
his affliction by indulging in "the things that are seen." This text 
(4:16-18) deals with that problem. 

The Greek participle skopounton may be interpreted as having 
conditional force. The RSV clearly translates 4:17-18 as a conditional 
sentence when it separates the two verses with only a comma and con- 
nects them with the word "because." Verse 18 is the conditional 
clause (or, the protasis) which modifies the principle clause (or, the 
apodosis) of verse 17. In a conditional sentence, the conditional clause 
states a supposition and the principle clause states the result of the 
fulfillment of this supposition. In the sentence before us (4:17-18), the 
protasis is verse 18, and the apodosis is verse 17. In other words.the 
preparing of our eternal weight of glory is conditioned upon our look- 
ing not at the things that are seen but looking to the things that are un- 
seen. It is not enough that believers suffer affliction — this in itself 
does not work glory. Affliction works glory only if the believer 
focuses his mind's eye intently on the things that really matter. To 
keep from "losing heart" in the throes of affliction and mortalness, 
and to have the blessed hope of the incomparable glory, the believer 
must set his mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5ff) — on the 
things that are above (Col. 3:1-4). 

The Greek phrase, me skopounton hemon ta blepomena, may be 
translated, "... because we are not contemplating the things being 
seen. ..." Both participles are present tense and active. The chris- 
tian, rather, looks to the "things not being seen" (Gr. ta me 
blepomena). Does this mean the christian is not to look at trees, stars, 
sky, houses, physical bodies or other natural objects? Not at all! It 



110 



J 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

would be absurd to interpret Paul's statement into such a meaning. 
Paul means the christian is not to set his mind on the values and stan- 
dards of worldliness. Paul means the christian must decide that the 
things of Heaven, the values and standards and promises of God 
(disavowed by the worldly mind-set) are the realities. What the carnal 
mind-set calls realities (materialism, sensuality, atheism) are not 
realities at all because they are transitory. All that is physical and 
material (although not unreal and not evil in itself) is not abiding. All 
of it, too, shall pass away. Paul calls all that "is being seen" transient 
(Gr. proskaira, temporary — Paul uses the same word in Hebrews 
11:25 to speak of the "fleeting" pleasures of sin). Only that which is 
unseen by the physical eye, and of God, is real! Only what is in heaven 
last forever. All that is real is promised and described, as nearly as 
human language can describe the unseen, in the Bible — and in the Bi- 
ble only! The unseen (and unseeable) things of Heaven are present 
realities to the christian by faith (see Heb. 11:1). And that faith is 
founded on empirically-verified evidence that such unseen powers and 
qualities do exist beyond the realm of the physical and empirical. 

It has always been difficult for men to believe that there are unseen 
realities, invisible to human eye and investigation, but nevertheless 
very real and very important. The mind of man struggles with the 
descriptions of the supernatural and the promises of life beyond death 
(both as to its existence and its quality) because it all seems to be con- 
trary to his experience. But man must learn not to trust his own 
presuppositions and limited experiences. Even the physical sciences 
(uninterpreted by evolutionism) teach man that there is a reality 
beyond that which is seen with the physical eye. 

As man realizes his mortality, and as he approaches more surely 
the end of his existence*in this life, these "unseen" realities become 
more and more significant to him. And nothing is more encouraging 
to a person with the problem of discouragement than to realize that 
when he believes the word of God he has found eternal reality. This is 
what life is all about. 



APPREHENSION: 

1. Was Jesus, the perfect man, ever disappointed? When? Why? 

Ill 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

2. How does the word "therefore" beginning chapter 4 indicate the 
source of Paul's disappointment? What was that source? 

3. Does Paul infer that he once used disgraceful, underhanded ways 
with the word of God? When? How? 

4. What is "tampering" with God's word? 

5. Who is a "tamperer" with God's word? 

6. How did Paul commend his ministry to mankind? 

7. Is the devil the "god of this world"? In what way? 

8. What proof is available to man that the devil is not a "god"? 

9. Does Paul infer some Corinthians were "preaching themselves"? 
Why? 

10. What does Paul mean by "earthen vessels"? 

11. What is the believer's "treasure"? 

12. Did Paul experience "pressure" and "anxiety"? Why? 

13. Why did Paul say he had experienced "perplexity"? 

14. To what may Paul be alluding when he says "struck down"? 

15. What "death" is Paul talking about when he says, "always carry- 
ing in the body the death of Jesus"? 

16. How is "death at work in us"? What is death working in us? 

17. What is the "outer nature"? How do we know it is wasting away? 

18. When do we know that our "inner nature" is being renewed? 

19. What is the direct tie between our afflictions in this life and the 
glory that is to come to the believer in the next lift? 

20. What, according to C.S. Lewis, is the "eternal weight of glory"? 

21. What may we surmise about the "eternal weight of glory" from 
the Scriptures? 



APPLICATION: 

1. Should preachers ever become discouraged, disappointed? Does 
your preacher? 

2. Have you ever been guilty of legalism? What makes you feel 
alright with God? 

3. How many people do you know who think of the devil as equal 
with God in power? 

4. What does it mean, "to measure themselves by one another"? 
What is wrong with that? 



112 



THE PROBLEM OF DISCOURAGEMENT 

5. Why is it that young people seldom think of their mortality? 

6. Should christians think of death often? Is that being morbid? Can 
it be good to do so? 

7. May christians expect to be afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and 
knocked down? How often? 

8. Is there an answer to such a life? What is it? Have you found it 
workable? Have you told anyone else about this answer? 

9. Do you always carry in your body the death of the Lord Jesus? 
How? 

10. Do you expect God to help you die to self? How do you think God 
will accomplish this in your life? 

1 1 . Do you feel like you are being renewed in your inner nature every 
day? Why? How? What can you do to insure that you are? 

12. What is waiting for you when you die? 

13. Why do you think God will say to you, after you die, "Well done, 
good and faithful servant . . ."? 

14. What is really real to you? Have you come to the place in your life 
yet where everything in this world is "unreal"? 



113 



Special Study 
Unbelief is Deliberate 

by Paul T. Butler 



Introduction 

"First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the 
last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, 
'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell 
asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of 
creation.' They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God 
heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by 
means of water, through which the world that then existed was de- 
luged with water and perished." II Pet. 3:3-6 

I. UNBELIEF ALMOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE 

A. Faced by what seems so logical and reasonable, so sensible 
and so beneficial evidence ... so true and right ... we do 
not understand why there is unbelief. 

Why do so many people who seem sensible, sincere, 

reasonable, not acknowledge the same truths we hold to be so 

self-evident? 

Why, in a world of so many intelligent, relatively moral and 

upright people, is there so much unbelief? 

B. Peter, in our text, I believe, shows the primary cause of 
unbelief — DELIBERATE IGNORANCE 

The Bible has a great deal to say about this ... we will 
discuss it in just a moment from the aspect of Peter's entire 
3rd chapter of this 2nd epistle. 

II. SOME UNBELIEF IS DUE TO A SIMPLE LACK OF 
KNOWLEDGE 

A. ' 'Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by 
the preaching of Christ." Rom. 10:17 

B. Often times children grow up, even in Christian homes, 
without ever having been given a faith with foundations in 
facts or evidence (cf. Deut. 6:6-25) 

C. The church has not fulfilled her mission until she has 
presented the good news founded on the evidences of factual 



114 



UNBELIEF IS DELIBERATE 

history. 
D. But even a lack of knowledge will not be accepted as an ex- 
cuse by God since all men have had enough knowledge of 
God revealed to them that they stand condemned by God if 
they disbelieve (cf. Rom. l:18ff) 

SO, PRIMARILY SPEAKING, UNBELIEF IS MORAL 

REBELLION 



Discussion 

UNBELIEF IS DELIBERATE 

A. "For this they willingly are ignorant of . . ." another transla- 
tion says, "They purposely ignore this fact ..." v. 5. 

1 . Unbelief comes to men because they deliberately choose 
*to ignore the facts as these facts reveal a God to whom 

they have a moral responsibility 

2. Rom. 1:21 men . . . "became futile in their thinking and 
their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, 
they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immor- 
tal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or 
animals or reptiles." v. 25, "they exchanged the truth 
about God for a lie . . ." v. 28 "they refused to have 
God in their knowledge." 

3. "But the invisible things of him from the creation of the 
world are clearly seen, being understood by the things 
that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so 
that they are without excuse." Rom. 1:20 

Men may deny the facts if they wish . . . but they are 
without excuse because God is so sufficiently revealed 
even in nature that unbelief condemns men . . . the 
evidence, the facts are so abundant that any man who 
says there is no God is a fool, for only a fool is willingly 
ignorant. 

Dr. G.G. Simpson, famous Paleontologist from Harvard 
once said concerning some highly improbable evidence as 
to the origin of the horse, "it is improbable as to be unac- 
ceptable unless we can find no hypothesis more likely to 



115 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

explain the facts." IN OTHER WORDS, HE IS WILL- 
ING TO ACCEPT AN UNACCEPTABLE EXPLANA- 
TION IF THERE IS, IN HIS ESTIMATION, NONE 
BETTER! 

4. Jesus once made a most shocking accusation against the 
Pharisees, "But because I say the truth, ye believe me 
not" John 8:45* 

The very reason they would not believe Jesus was the fact 
that He told them the truth. There is hardly a worse state 
man can get himself into than this! 

5. Those who hate the truth will be deceived and believe a lie 
(II Thess. 2:10-12). These do not love the truth therefore 
they are not attracted to it and even when they see it, they 
hastily reject it and rationalize their reaction. 

6. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who 
believe not (II Cor. 4:3-4). These refuse to listen to the 
truth when uncondemns the unrighteous things in which 
they find pleasure and which they are determined to con- 
tinue. . . . Thus they seek for some message which will 
assure them that the unrighteous thing is right and thus 
permit them to continue in it without being rebuked by 
their conscience. God sends such people strong delusions. 
He has ordained the laws of man's heart and of morality, 
and that person who has no love for the truth and who 
lives in and takes pleasure in unrighteousness will unfit 
his heart for the reception of truth and fit it for the recep- 
tion of strong delusions which comfort and assure him in 
his error and unrighteousness. 

Dr. Henry Morris, when on the OBC campus for the 1966 Science & 
Scripture Forum, emphasizing the impact of the 2nd law of ther- 
modynamics upon theories, of evolution concluded that ANY SCIEN- 
TIST AWARE OF THIS LAW (AND ALL SHOULD BE) WHO RE- 
MAINS AN EVOLUTIONIST OR UNIFORMITARIAN, MUST DO 
SO BY DELIBERATELY IGNORING THIS FACT! 

7. Jeremiah put it this way. . . . "Behold their ears are clos- 
ed, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to 
them an object of scorn, they take no pleasure in it." Jer. 
6:10 (see also Jer. 6:16-19). 



116 



UNBELIEF IS DELIBERATE 

B. "scoffers . . . walking after their own lusts . . ." v. 3. 

1 . Unbelief comes to men because they choose to walk after 
their own lusts (Rom. 1). "God gave them up to the lusts 
of their own hearts . . . unto vile affections . . . they not 
only do these things but even take pleasure in seeing 
others do them." 

2. The people of Israel cried out to Moses as Pharaoh ap- 
proached, "It would have been better for us to serve the 
Egyptians than to die in the wilderness . . . would that 
we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, 
when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the 
full . . ." Exod. 14:10-12; 16:1-3. 

Desire to satisfy the flesh chokes out the word. Matt. 

13:13-23 

Unbelief is due to the fact that men choose deliberately to 

have physical security, or sensual pleasure, or pride 

3. Agrippa's lust for a woman not his own caused him to 
deliberately refuse to believe Paul, Acts 26:28 

4. ' 'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the 
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because 
their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth 
the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds should 
be reproved (exposed for what they really are)." John 
3:19-20 

5. "For the time will come when people will not endure 
sound teaching, but having itching ears they will ac- 
cumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own lik- 
ings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and 
wander into myths." 

6. One of man's lusts which causes him to deliberately 
disbelieve is PRIDE 

a. Pride from wealth, Deut. 8:1-20 

b. Pride from power, Exod. 5:2; Dan. 4:30; 5:23 

c. Pride from security, Obadiah 3 

d. Pride from self-righteousness, Job 33:9; Luke 18:11; 
John 9:39-41; Rev. 3:17 

e. Pride from self-sufficiency, James 4:13-17 

f. Pride is man's desire for human autonomy over 



117 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

against the sovereignty of God ... a proud man 
does not need a Provider, Protector, Guide and 
Saviour. BUT HE IS NOT FREE FOR HE HIDES 
— ONE WAY OR ANOTHER HE HIDES 
ANIMAL LUSTS OF MEN DECEIVE THEM INTO 
DELIBERATELY DENYING GOD, THE BIBLE, HEAVEN AND 
HELL, BECAUSE THEY WANT TO SATISFY THEIR FLESHLY 
DESIRES. . . . THEY DO NOT NEED GOD FOR THEY ARE 
SELF-SUFFICIENT, THEREFORE THEY "WANDER (deliberate- 
ly) INTO THE MYTHS OF EVOLUTION, HUMANISM, COM- 
MUNISM, AND JUST PLAIN STUBBORNNESS. 
ALL OF US HAVE HEARD PEOPLE SAY, "I KNOW THE BIBLE 
IS HISTORY AND IT'S TRUE AND I OUGHT TO DO 
SOMETHING ABOUT ITS DEMANDS, BUT I'M NOT READY 
TO GIVE UP THIS AND THAT, AND SO ON." OR SOME WILL 
SAY, "I CAN'T BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS TRUE BECAUSE 
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS IT CONDEMNS WHICH I 
FEEL ARE ALRIGHT. 

C. "they that are unlearned and unstable wrest the scriptures un- 
to their own destruction" II Pet. 3:16 

1 . Unbelief comes to men when they wrest the scriptures 

2. Satan, the father of unbelief, perverted the scripture at 
the temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4:5-6) 

3. Paul had to contend with the Judaizers who corrupted (II 
Cor. 2:17) and dishonestly handled the word of God 
deceitfully (II Cor. 4:2). 

4. The prejudiced and biased mind is a form of deliberate 
unbelief (cf. John 8:12; 7:24) so also is the one who 
allows himself to be influenced by rumor or opinions of 
so-called intelligentsia (cf. John 7:12; 7:40-43; James 
1:6-7; Eph. 4:13-14). 

5. Cowardice or conformity also leads to deliberate unbelief 
(cf. John 12:41-43; John 9) 

6. Liberalism, Modernism — a result of men who have 
deceitfully and dishonestly handled the Word of God has 
infected hundreds of thousands of gullible people who 
feel they must conform in churches all around us and 
within the Restoration Movement. 



118 



UNBELIEF IS DELIBERATE 

7. Existentialism, by deceit, has duped many into unbelief 

8. Men, by their traditions, have made void the word of 
God and led many unto belief. 

THE WRESTING OF THE SCRIPTURES TO MAINTAIN DIVI- 
SION WITHIN CHRISTENDOM BRINGS UNBELIEF . . . JESUS 
PRAYED IN JOHN 17 . . . "THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE, 
THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU DIDST SEND 
ME!" 

WRESTING THE SCRIPTURES IS CERTAIN EVIDENCE OF 
DISRESPECT FOR GOD AND, ON THE OTHER HAND PRIDE 
IN SELF! 

WHEN MEN EXCHANGE THE TRUTH OF GOD FOR A LIE, 
THEY BEGIN TO WORSHIP THE CREATURE RATHER THAN 
THE CREATOR . . . PERHAPS NOT FROGS AND 
CROCODILES LIKE THE EGYPTIANS . . . BUT MAN WOR- 
SHIPPING MAN IS JUST AS DESPICABLE FOR IT IS 
CREATURE WORSHIP! 

9. The Jews of the Prophet's days wrested the scripture by inter- 
preting the promise of the Messiah and His kingdom as one of 
fleshly indulgence . . . their hearts were filled with unbelief 

10. The Pharisees wrested the scriptures to declare their goods 
"Corban" . . . they deceitfully handled the Word of God to 
take oaths by the gold of the altar rather than the altar itself 
and robbed people and refused to pay pledges (Mt. 23) 

THE SEEMING SLACKNESS OF GOD IN BRINGING JUDG- 
MENT UPON DISOBEDIENCE OR PERVERSION OF GOD'S 
WORD, CAUSES MEN TO FEEL THEY CAN USURP GOD AND 
DO AS THEY PLEASE WITH HIS WORD . . . WRESTING IT TO 
SERVE THEIR LUSTS. 

It is clear that the evidences for Christianity are of such nature that 
they bring to the surface what is in a man! If one is unwilling to follow 
Christ — because of the demand which such would make on his life — 
he can think up "reasons" to justify his unwillingness. The real reason 
— his unwillingness — will be hidden from others by these "ra- 
tionalizations" and finally even from himself because he does not 
think beyond these "reasons." 

The fact that one must love the truth indicates that the attitude of 
heart has something to do with whether or not one will believe. He 



119 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

who wants a careless, immoral life, will not want the faith which is a 
constant rebuke to such a life. 
II. BELIEF IS DELIBERATE 

A. Saving faith is voluntary. Had the revelation of God been so 
strong that anyone beholding could not disbelieve, it would 
have overridden moral freedom and this would be evidence 
unsuitable to moral subjects 

B. The true purpose of God is not to produce obedience by 
force, but to treat men as free moral agents. 

C. Belief comes to an informed mind 

1. Peter writes to "stir up their mind and to call to remem- 
brance the revealed word of God." II Pet. 3:1 

2. God's revelation was made intelligently and he expects 
man to apprehend it with the use of intelligence (Rom. 
10:17) 

3. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto 
you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly 
our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus 
Christ" I John 1:3 

Paul "reasoned" with the Jews from the scriptures about 

the Christ (Acts 17:1-4; 18:3,19). 
WE MUST DELIBERATELY LEARN AND RECEIVE THE 
FACTS ABOUT GOD, JESUS, AND THE BIBLE, BEFORE WE 
CAN BELIEVE . . . PETER IS ONE WHO PUTS A PREMIUM 
ON KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST THROUGH THE WORD FOR HE 
KNOWS THAT BELIEF COMES THIS WAY! (I Pet. 1:22-25; 3:15; 
II Pet. 1:3-11; 1:12-15; 1:16-21; 3:18) 
B. Belief come to a submissive will 

1. "If any many will do his will, he shall know of the doc- 
trine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of 
myself." John 7:17 

2. The Pharisees of Jesus day were filled with unbelief 
because they would not let the word of Christ "have free 
course in them." John 8:37 

3. THIS SAME STUBBORN UNWILLINGNESS TO DO 
GOD'S WILL LED THE PHARISEES TO REJECT 
THE COUNSEL OF GOD, REFUSING TO BE BAP- 
TIZED OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (Luke 7:29-30) 



120 



UNBELIEF IS DELIBERATE 

4. "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep 
his commandments" I John 2:3 

5. GOD GAVE MAN A WILL ... HE GAVE HIM A 
FREE WILL . . . MAN IS FREE TO SURRENDER TO 
WHATEVER HE WISHES . . . BELIEF OR 
UNBELIEF 

C. Belief comes to a pure heart 

1. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." 
Does not Jesus mean believe in God? 

2. The honest and good heart is the soil upon which the seed 
(the word of God) falls and brings forth much fruit, Luke 
8 

3. "But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his 
deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in 
God." John 3:21 

A HEART CALLOUSED BY IMPURITY, GREED, 
LASCIVIOUSNESS, AND SIN IS HARDENED AGAINST ANY 
KIND OF BELIEF EXCEPT UNBELIEF! THE HEART THAT IS 
PURE, CLEAN, AND WHOLESOME IS MALLEABLE, SOFT, 
COMPASSIONATE, EASILY ENTREATED, RESPONSIVE TO 
THE HIGHEST AND NOBLEST . . . RESPONSIVE TO THE 
DIVINE LOVE LETTER . . . GOD'S BOOK OF LOVE! 



Conclusion 

HOW DOES MAN, SNARED IN THE TRAP OF THE DEVIL, 
BLINDED BY THE DEVIL, DECEIVED BY THE DEVIL INTO 
UNBELIEF, COME TO BELIEF?? 

I. There must be an a priori which must be admitted. Man must ad- 
mit that he is rational and that there are objects and facts to be 
known. To deny he thinks he must think. Even to represent 
himself to irrational he must think rationally! 

II. Many facts (truths) are MORAL FACTS. That is they exhibit, 
form or display moral character or attributes. All of God's works 
(both natural and supernatural) exhibit His moral attributes and 
character . . . His wrath upon sin; His love for the sinner (cf. 
Rom. 1:18-22; Acts 14:15-17; Acts 17:22-31; John 3:16, etc.) 



121 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

III. The Will or the "Heart" or the Mind of man must be changed or 
moved or transformed by a presentation of "moral facts" (cf. 
Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Rom. 10:17) 

IV. Man then makes a choice or gives assent to what he knows to be 
true and moral and right. An emotion is "an experience brought 
about by the prospect of some value's being gained or lost." We 
become emotional about something after receiving the moral facts 
and reasoning on them — then we make a choice . . . WHICH IS 
MOST TO BE DESIRED . . . MATERIAL OR SPIRITUAL? 

V. MAN THEN COMES TO FAITH . . . Faith is trust, love, obe- 
dience, commitment. Faith is an experience — based squarely on 
the foregoing steps (See chart on page 123.) 

The infamous Madalyn Murray O'Hair, drop-out from humanity, 
speaking on the campus of Drake University, asked why she speaks on 
college campuses, replied, "To corrupt the youth!" 

Mad-at-God-Madalyn says, "I believe this would be the best of all 
possible worlds if everybody were an atheist or an agnostic or a 
humanist." 

"I don't think the church has ever contributed anything to anybody, 
any place, at any time. I can't pinpoint a period in history or a place in 
the universe where religion has actually helped the welfare of man." 

"There is absolutely no conclusive evidence that Jesus ever really ex- 
isted, even as a mortal. I don't believe he was a historical figure at all. 
Until someone proves otherwise, therefore, these stories about him 
must be considered nothing more than folk tales consisting in equal 
parts of legend and wish fulfillment. But there is never going to be any 
way of verifying them one way or the other." 

WOULD YOU SAY THIS WOMAN IS A FREE-THINKER . . . 
ALWAYS WILLING TO INVESTIGATE EVIDENCE . . . OPEN- 
MINDED . . . OBJECTIVE!!!? 

"Also, I reject the idea of a life hereafter on the same grounds. Do 
you know anybody who has come back with a first-hand report on 
heaven? If you do, let me know. Until then you'll pardon me if I don't 



122 



UNBELIEF IS DELIBERATE 



FAITH 

Faith is trust, love, obedience, 
commitment. All the below are in- 
strumental in developing faith. 
Faith is an experience . . . based 
squarely on the below pre-requi- 
sites. 



ASSENT — CHOICE 

Emotion: an experience brought about by 
the prospect of some value's being gained 
or lost. 

We become emotional or feel about some- 
one or something after receiving the moral 
facts and reasoning on them and — then we 
make a choice! The problem is to convince 
men which is most real — this world or the 
spiritual! 



THE WILL or the "HEART" 

The will or heart of man must be changed or moved 
by a presentation of "moral facts" (cf. II Cor. 
10:3-5; Rom. 10:17). 



FACTS 

Many facts (truths) are Moral Facts: i.e., those facts which ex- 
hibit or form moral character or display moral character. All 
of God's works (both natural and supernatural) exhibit His 
moral attributes and character (cf. Rom. 1:18-22; Acts 
14:15-17; 17:22-31). 



The a priori which must be admitted or presupposed 
which is absolutely necessary to all reasoning, feel- 
ing, believing, willing, or acting. 



RATIONALITY 



OBJECTIVITY 



Cogito, ergo sum! 



"I think, therefore, I am!' 



HOW DOES A PERSON BELIEVE IN GOD? 

"The central problem in today's theological scene lies in the area of 
epistemology — the truth question" — John Warwick Montgomery in a 
book review in Eternity magazine, January, 1968. 



123 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

buy it. 

I agree with Mark Twain, who wrote about the hereafter, that 
there is no sex in it; you can't eat anything in it; there is absolutely 
nothing physical in it. You wouldn't have your brain, you wouldn't 
have any sensation, you wouldn't be able to enjoy anything — unless 
you were queer for hymn singing and harp playing. So who needs it? 
SPEAKING FOR MYSELF, I'D RATHER GO TO HELL." 

UNBELIEF CAN'T GET ANY MORE DELIBERATE THAN 
THAT! 

It is a matter of choice! Choose ye this day whom you will serve. Why 
go ye limping between the two sides if Baal be God worship him — 
Jesus depicted life as a choice between two ways — not three (no 
neutrality) 



124 



Special Study 
God — Fact Or Fiction? 

(Gen. 1:1) 

"In the beginning, God. ..." 

(Heb. 11:6) 



Introduction 

I. THE HUMAN MIND IS ABLE TO COME TO REST IN A 
FIRST CAUSE 

A. Some say we cannot argue at all about the First Cause which 
is Uncaused since we have no faculties for comprehending the 
Infinite 

1. This may be true but it is only part of the truth. His 
nature and attributes are too great for any human mind 
to fully comprehend and for any human language to ex- 
press completely 

2. But the same is true of many finite things also 

a. Man cannot even know himself in any ultimate sense 

b. The forces of nature are all unseen and unknowable 
in themselves . . . simply for lack of knowledge of 
the ultimate essence of the force which holds the 
world in place we have called it "gravity." 
Reminds me of a discussion Dr. Harry Rimmer was 
having with a reknowned physicist who was criticiz- 
ing the Bible for its "unscientific" nature. Dr. Rim- 
mer asked the good Dr., "What holds the world in 
place." "Gravity, of course," came the erudite rep- 
ly. "Then what is gravity," said Dr. Rimmer. "Well, 
I suppose the best answer I can give is it is that which 
holds the world in place," said the reknowned scien- 
tist. 

c. Man is still at a loss to understand all he knows about 
the atom and the sub-atomic particles, and DNA, 
and RNA and LSD and on and on we could go. 
YET WE KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT ALL OF 
THIS FROM THE EFFECTS. . . . AND IN EACH 
CASE WHAT WE KNOW IS NOT INCORRECT 



125 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

BECAUSE IT IS YET INCOMPLETE OR INCOM- 
PREHENSIBLE ... IN MOST CASES EVEN 
THIS PARTIAL KNOWLEDGE IS SUFFICIENT 
FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES 

B. And so, it is true that the existence of a person or a thing may 
be proved although its nature may not be perfectly 
understood. The great truth of the existence of God is capable 
of being established in the same rational certainty which 
assures all the great verities, duties and practical interests of 
human life and welfare. 
II. BELIEF IN GOD IS TIED TO RATIONALITY AND OBJEC- 
TIVITY 

A. Some erroneous ideas of what faith is 

1. Something mystical, indefinable and beyond grasping in 
any reasonable fashion. 

2. Something that cannot be defined because it is something 
subjective, something you feel, and cannot be tied to 
anything objective. 

3 . Something that enables a person to go on in the face of all 
the evidence to the contrary — a movement out of rela- 
tionship to the known and into the unknown ... a leap 
in the dark 

B. The correct way to faith 

1. Faith (trust, commitment) must, by its very nature, be 
tied directly to objectivity, to evidence, to knowledge. BY 
FAITH WE MAKE JUDGMENTS WHICH ARE BAS- 
ED UPON KNOWLEDGE WHICH IS SUPPLIED BY 
EVIDENCE! 

2. WHEN REASON PLAYS UPON THE EVIDENCE 
SUPPLIED BY GOD IN NATURE, HISTORY, THE 
BIBLE, MAN, IT IS PLAYING ON EVIDENCE 
EQUALLY OBJECTIVE TO THE EVIDENCE 
BROUGHT TO CONSIDERATION BY ANY 
BIOLOGIST, GEOLOGIST, ETC. 

C. Edward J. Carnell says, ". . . all belief (faith) rests on 
authority . . . the authority can be direct or indirect . . . and 
what is authority if it is not the power of sufficient evidences 
to elicit assent?" 



126 



GOD — FACT OR FICTION? 

CHRISTIAN SCHOLARSHIP AT ITS BEST IS THE AP- 
PLICATION OF THE METHODS OF SCIENCE TO THE 
EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY, A SIFTING AND RE- 
SIFTING OF ALL THE EVIDENCE AND OBJECTIVE 
MATERIAL THAT CAN BE FOUND AND CON- 
SIDERED. 

IF WHAT A MAN BELIEVES IS NOT SUPPORTED BY 
OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE THEN WHAT HE BELIEVES IS 
UNWORTHY, AND HE MAY WELL BE LIVING IN A 
DREAM WORLD. 



Discussion 

GOD KNOWN FROM THE FACTS OF NATURE (cf. Rom. 
l:18ff; Psa. 19:1-6; Acts 14:14-17; Acts 17:22-34) 

A. Our judgment that God exists from reasoning upon the 
evidence supplied in nature begins with what we call the 
cosmological argument or reasoning from "effect to cause." 

1 . For every effect there has to be an adequate cause 

2. Effects are all about us ... we are an effect . . . the 
universe is an effect . . . neither made 
themselves . . . each is dependent upon some higher 
cause. 

3. Any given entity is either dependent or not dependent. If 
it is not dependent it is self-contained, self-caused and is 
therefore an Uncaused First Cause. If an entity is depen- 
dent then it is an effect from some extraneous force, 
which is again, either dependent or not . . . and so on to 
an Uncaused Cause 

4. It is irrational and unreasonable to talk about an infinite 
regression of causes and effects. 

a. The very statement of such a proposition is self- 
contradictory. . . . 

B. The observed 2nd law of thermodynamics proves the universe 
to be an effect. YOU CANNOT HAVE A RUNNING 
DOWN PROCESS UNLESS AT SOMETIME OR 
ANOTHER IT WAS WOUND UP OR BEGUN . . . AND 



127 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

WILL AT SOME FUTURE TIME RUN DOWN OR STOP! 

1. Benjamin Franklin, in Paris, made a model planetary 
system showing the earth and the planets nearest it. Many 
astronomers copied it to use in their studies. One day an 
atheist friend saw it and asked, "Who made it?" "No 
one made it," replied Franklin, "it made itself, it just 
happened." "What," cried the man, "you're joking." 
"And so is the man who says the universe just happened, 
without a cause," said Franklin. 

2. Two friends slept in their tent on the desert. One put his 
head out the following morning, "Some camels passed 
here last night." "How do you know, did you see them," 
replied his friend. "No, but I see their tracks." EVEN IF 
WE CANNOT SEE THE INVISIBLE GOD WE SEE 
HIS HANDIWORK AND KNOW HE HAS BEEN 
HERE! 

C. Our judgment that God exists from reasoning upon the 
evidence supplied in nature comes secondly from what is call- 
ed the teleological argument or the argument from design . 

1. This argument is appealed to in scripture: "He that 
planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye 
shall he not see? Psa. 94:9 

a. In other words, can we believe that the purposiveness 
of OUR sensory organs can be explained without an 
Intelligent Purposer or Designer who also hears and 
sees? 

2. Nature, large and small, shows adaptation of means to 
ends — it shows purpose, design, intelligence, balance 
a. If there is no Intelligent purposive Mind as originator 

of both man and the universe, two unbelievable 
things happened: (1) Man developed an intelligence, 
sense of purpose, design from that which was non- 
intelligent, illogical, non-purposive, and (2) man, 
having thus miraculously gained intelligence from 
non-intelligence, was able to read in the cosmos vast 
and continuous meanings, rational to him, which had 
never been put into the universe by any mind or 
power whatever, and had never been thought at all 



128 



GOD — FACT OR FICTION? 

until man discovered them or read them into that 
which was non-intelligent, non-purposive BUT 
REASON REJECTS BOTH PROPOSITIONS!! 

b. And yet, Haeckel (an evolutionist) had the audacity 
to say, "No where in the evolution of plants and 
animals do we find any trace of design. ..." 

Evidences of purposive design 

a. The embryo of the hen makes provision for 2 ovaries 
and 2 oviducts, but only the left ovary and its duct 
reach maturity! Why? H.G. Wells was probably right 
when he said, "Female birds have only one ovary and 
oviduct doubtless to provide against the accidents 
that might occur if two large and brittle eggs were to 
knock about simultaneously in their insides." 

b. The Yucca moth and the yucca plant . . . each is 
dependent upon the other for its very existence in ex- 
clusive manner . . . the yucca plant is the only food 
the moth can survive on . . . while the yucca moth is 
the only insect which pollenizes the plant. 

c. There are certain types of insects (wasps or bees) 
which alone can pollenize certain kinds of imported 
fig trees . . . these wasps had to be imported to bring 
the imported fig trees to bear fruit. 

d. Another type of wasp stings the grasshopper in exact- 
ly the right spot so that it is paralyzed but not dead. 
In this way the meat is preserved. The wasp then 
buries it in the spot where she will lay her young later 
on. The larvae will then feed on this grasshopper. 
THINK, NOW, THE VERY FIRST WASPS MUST 
HAVE DONE THIS ON COMMAND FROM 
THEIR CREATOR OR THE WASPS WOULD 
HAVE CEASED TO EXIST. ... IT WAS NOT A 
SLOW LEARNING PROCESS THROUGH TRIAL 
AND ERROR! 

e. The Venus fly-trap. A carnivorous plant. When a fly 
alights upon the leaf it closes over it and sucks the fly 
dry. If a dead fly is dropped on the leaf, the plant 
closes and then reopens immediately having 



129 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

discovered it to be dead. The plant knows when it has 
had enough to eat to satisfy it for present, and will 
not close upon flies when it has had enough. The 
plant will not close in the rain . . . unless it is fooled 
by a drop of water when the sun is shining. It never 
closes when it is raining normally during cloudy 
weather because it would miss too many good meals, 
f . The spider weaves the outer spiral portion of his web 
in a sticky substance and any insect alighting upon it 
is stuck. But the inner web is non-adhesive. Why? 
The spider needs a place to rest where he will not be 
trapped in his own sticky web. But if an insect is 
caught in the sticky portion, how does the spider get 
his meal? He has little glands in his legs which secrete 
just enough oil substance to allow him to do this 
without getting trapped. But too long a stay on the 
outer web would cause just enough of the adhesive 
material to cling to the spiders legs to hinder his 
work ... so he weaves a non-sticky place to which 
he may retreat. 

Statements by famous scientists: 

Sir Isaac Newton: "This admirably beautiful structure of sun, 
planets and comets could not have originated except in the wisdom 
and sovereignty of an Intelligent and Powerful Being." 

Edwin B. Frost: "In a purposeful creation, I find it not at all in- 
consistent to believe that there must be a Mind behind it developing 
the purpose." 

Sir Oliver Lodge: "... there must be some Intelligence in all the 
processes of nature, for they are not random or purposeless, but 
organized and beautiful." 

Sir James Jeans: "If the universe is a universe of thought, then its 
creation must have been an act of Thought." 

II. MAN HIMSELF IS EVIDENCE THAT GOD EXISTS 
A. Man's body (Alexis Carrel in "Man, The Unknown.) 

1. "An organ builds itself by techniques very foreign to the 
human mind. It is not made of extraneous material, like a 



130 



GOD — FACT OR FICTION? 

house. Neither is it a cellular construction, a mere 
assemblage of cells. It is, of course, composed of cells, as 
a house is of bricks. But it is born from a cell, as if the 
house originated from one brick, a magic brick that 
would set about manufacturing other bricks. Those 
bricks, without waiting for the architects drawings or the 
coming of the bricklayers, would assemble themselves 
and form the walls. They would also metamorphose into 
windowpanes, roofing slates, coal for heating, and water 
for the kitchen and bathroom. An organ develops by 
means such as have been attributed to this "magic 
brick." It is engendered by cells which, to all ap- 
pearances, have a knowledge of the future edifice and 
synthesize from substances contained in blood plasma, 
the building material, and even the workers." (DNA and 
RNA) 
B. Man's moral nature bespeaks a Moral Creator (Rom. 2:14ff) 

1 . He has a sense of right and wrong. When he does what he 
thinks is wrong, his conscience condemns; when he does 
what he thinks is right, his conscience approves. 

2. He believes justice will be done, some way, somewhere, 
sometime. 

3. NOW IF WE HAVE THIS SENSE OF RIGHT AND 
WRONG, THERE MUST HAVE BEEN SOMEONE 
WHO MADE THIS SENSE IN MAN . . . THAT 
WHICH IS MORAL CANNOT ORIGINATE FROM 
THAT WHICH IS NON-MORAL OR AMORAL 

4. Man is also placed in the midst of an environment that in- 
tegrates with his moral nature, giving him a chance to 
choose between right and wrong and to develop and 
discipline moral character. 

5. The "red claw" of nature is one of predators and 
prey . . . there is balance and design there . . . but 
nature knows nothing of justice or morality . . . TO 
DESTROY THE BELIEF THAT RIGHT WILL 
TRIUMPH, THAT THERE IS A GREAT MORAL 
RULER, GOD, WHO WILL SEE THAT TRUTH 
PREVAILS, IS TO REMOVE THE VERY FOUND A- 



131 



k 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

TIONS OF MORAL AND SOCIAL 
RECTITUDE. . . . IT IS UNTHINKABLE THAT ALL 
THE SPLENDID CHARACTERISTICS OF MAN 
SUCH AS JUSTICE, LOVE, FREEDOM AND 
OTHERS (MARRED BY SIN THOUGH THEY BE) 
SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRODUCED BY AN 
AMORAL ABSTRACTION OR BLIND, UNGUIDED, 
UNFEELING CHANCE! 

C. Man is a person who enjoys and creates beauty. The ability of 
the human mind to perceive and appreciate beauty is not ac- 
cidental but the purposeful plan of a Master Artist who made 
both for man's benefit. 

WHEN ANYONE TRIES TO DENY MAN IS MORAL, 
ASK HIM IF OUR STATEMENT THAT MAN IS A 
MORAL BEING IS RIGHT OR WRONG, OF IF HIS 
DENIAL IS RIGHT OR WRONG!! 

D. Man exhibits a universal belief in a Higher being or a 
Religious Instinct 

1. No animal, not even the most intelligent, has ever been 
known to have built an altar or worshipped a higher be- 
ing . . . but all histories of man, written or otherwise, 
speak of worship 

2. When any group of people is discovered, it is always 
found that they have a god or a system of gods 

3. When the communication lines with Helen Keller, the 
blind and deaf girl, were finally established and she was 
told that there was a God, she replied, "I knew it all the 
time." 

4. If there is no God, how could the idea of God ever have 
arisen in the human mind? Could a God-idea evolve of its 
own accord out of a non-God ground or basis? 

5. The atheist occupies an untenable position. Over him 
there will always hang the possibility that there is a God. 
He alone claims there is no God. Before one can proclaim 
there is no God he must have made extensive explorations 
in every inch of heaven and earth, in every essence of 
both material and spiritual (including the realm of 
thought), in all time and eternity. Before a man can 



132 



tk 



GOD — FACT OR FICTION? 

KNOW there is No God he would himself have to be God 
— omniscient — or THE ONE THING HE DID NOT 
KNOW MIGHT BE THAT THERE IS A GOD ... and 
omnipresent, or THE ONE PLACE WHERE HE WAS 
NOT, MIGHT BE THE PLACE WHERE GOD IS! 
III. GOD IS KNOWN BY HIS SPECIAL REVELATION OF 
HIMSELF 

A. The abundance of evidence that leads to an unshakable faith 
in the Divine Being and in His Revelation of Himself is over- 
whelming. 

1. Even more surely do we seek His handiwork in His 
special revelation in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His word, 
the Bible 

2. Merely to believe in God is not enough, we need to know 
Him, His personality, His purpose, His will for our lives 
(Heb. 11:6) 

3. When we have definite evidence that God has spoken, do 
we need any further argument that God exists? 

B. God has invaded the natural with the supernatural. ... He 
has stepped into history in many ways and in many specific 
times to demonstrate to man His existence, His power, His 
wisdom, His will, His nature. 

C. He has, in His Son, performed miracles (also in O.T. through 
angels) 

1. The flood, passing through Red Sea, healings, resurrec- 
tions, conquest of enemies (cf. Heb. 11) 

2. Jesus stilled tempest, walked on water, changed water in- 
to wine, fed 5000 from 5 loaves and 2 fish, healed all 
manner of diseases 

3. Jesus raised at least three person from the dead in 
presence of both friends and enemies 

4. Jesus commanded the spirit world, predicted His own 
death and resurrection, His betrayer was predicted, the 
destruction of Jerusalem was predicted 

D. The Bible is its own best proof containing hundreds of fulfill- 
ed prophecies . . . history written 1000s of years before its 
fulfillment 

1. History of the Jews, Deut. 28 



133 






SECOND CORINTHIANS 

2. Destinies of Gentile nations, Dan. 2, 4, 9-11 

3. Destinies of individuals before they were born, Isa. 44-45 

4. Life, birth, ministry, death, words, birthplace of 
Jesus . . . His whole life could be reproduced from O.T. 
prophecies 

5. The church, beginning, nature, purpose predicted and 
fulfilled 

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST . . . THE 
BEST ESTABLISHED FACT IN ALL OF HISTORY 



Conclusion 

THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, THERE IS NO GOD! 

No, we cannot prove Jehovah is the god for which the philosophers 
and scientists have searched, but we believe the evidence is sufficient 
to lead the honest philosopher, honest scientist, and ALL HONEST 
MEN AND WOMEN to believe Jehovah is God. We accept God by 
faith, but that faith IS BASED UPON THE INTELLIGENT CON- 
SIDERATION OF AN OVERWHELMING ABUNDANCE OF 
EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF HIS EXISTENCE. 

The unbeliever lives in the world of myth, make-believe, inconsisten- 
cy. The unbeliever is the schizophrenic (withdrawing from reality) 
John 3:19-21. He lives in the darkness of ignorance and sin (in most 
cases willfully!) He does not find God for the same reason a thief does 
not find a policeman! BUT GOD HAS REVEALED HIMSELF TO 
ALL WHO WILL INVESTIGATE THE FACTS AND ACCEPT 
THE FACTS. The Bible is the record of God's intelligent revelation to 
the intelligent portion of His creation — mankind. 

GOD IS! HE CREATES, HE JUDGES, HE LOVES, HE 
FORGIVES, HE SAVES, HE SPEAKS 

ONE OF THE GREAT DEMONSTRATIONS OF HIS EXISTENCE 
AND HIS POWER IS THE CHANGE HIS WORD WORKS IN THE 
HEARTS AND LIVES OF MEN. ... HE WILL CHANGE YOU — 



134 



GOD — FACT OR FICTION? 

MAKE YOU A NEW MAN OR WOMAN — OLD WAYS, OLD 
FEARS, OLD ANXIETIES, OLD THOUGHTS, OLD INCON- 
SISTENCIES, OLD FAILURES WILL BE DONE 
AWAY . . . GUILT WILL BE LIFTED . . . INSTEAD OF 
DARKNESS THERE WILL BE LIGHT . . , INSTEAD OF 
DESPAIR THERE WILL BE HOPE. 

Henry R. Luce, founder of Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune 
Magazines, worth 106 million when he died in early 1967, said before 
his death when asked about the current "God is dead" theology, 
"After all the argumentation is done, I believe that God revealed in 
the Scriptures is, quite simply, God; and therefore, not only living, 
but the creator and source of all life." 

Contrast with this the statement of Russian Cosmonaut Gherman 
Titov, May 6, 1962 in Seattle, Washington, when proclaiming his 
disbelief in God he said, "In my seventeen orbits of the earth I saw no 
God or angels." We seriously doubt that Mr. Titov could have seen 
every square inch of space in 17 orbits; furthermore, neither Mr. Titov 
nor anyone else can explain or understand everything they see; and 
last of all God is Spirit, so Mr. Titov could have orbited the earth 17 
thousand times, 17 million light years out and still not have seen God 
with his physical eyes! 

IT IS THE CONSISTENT, INTELLIGENT, RATIONAL, 
HONEST-HEARTED PERSON WHO BELIEVES IN GOD 
SO IT SEEMS THAT, IN LIGHT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF 
EVIDENCE, THE INCONSISTENT, UNINTELLIGENT, IRRA- 
TIONAL, SELF-DECEIVED PERSON WHO DISBELIEVES! 



135 



Special Study 

Evolution, unscientific & Immoral 

Introduction 

I. THIS PSEUDO-KNOWLEDGE REPRESENTED BY EVOLU- 
TION IS NOT SOMETHING NEW 

A. Paul had to deal with it among the philosophers of the first 
century 

1. Read Colossians 2:8 and I Timothy 6:20 

2. A literal translation of Colossians 2:8 would go 
something like "See to it that no one victimize you, or 
carry you off as his prey or booty, through philosophy or 
false, foundationless deception, according to traditionary 
assumptions of man by deceiving you into believing that 
the elementary, rudimentary things of the universe are 
the ultimate truths, denying that Christ is THE 
ULTIMATE" 

3. Paul told Timothy, literally, to "Avoid, or, Turn Away 
from profane (polluted), false, foundationless discourses 
(babblings) and oppositions (antitheses) of pseudo- 
knowledge." 

B. There were theories of uniformitarianism or evolutionism be- 
ing proposed by men who walked in the darkness of sin long 
before Charles Darwin. Dr. Henry Morris says the Devil was 
the first evolutionist 

1 . Democritus and Aristotle were proposing such theories in 
the Greek civilization at least 300 years before Christ 

2. Before them the Persians, the Babylonians, the Ca- 
naanites were all proposing such theories 

II. SCIENCE, PER SE, MAY BE USEFUL: A BLESSING TO 
MAN AND A GLORY TO GOD 

A. Scientism, and all the other God-denying "isms" attached 
thereto is our enemy 

B. Although I am not a scientist, I believe the information I shall 
present in attacking evolutionism is valid since 

1. Many of the statements made are well-known and 
established findings and laws of science 

2. Some of the statements and propositions may be verified 



136 



EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

by your own experience 
3 . Practically all the statements are quotations from widely 
recognized scientists, even by admitted evolutionists! 
C. This presentation of the FOUND ATIONLESS, EMPTY, IM- 
MORAL bases of evolution is to keep you from being vic- 
timized by the false, pseudo impractical, irrational, irrele- 
vant, unreasonable, immoral claims of evolutionary doc- 
trines! 

III. SOME WOULD OBJECT TO THIS TYPE OF DISCOURSE 
FROM THE PULPIT, DECLARING THAT IT IS NOT 
PREACHING THE GOSPEL 

A. The apostles spent a great deal of time exposing vain 
philosophies 

B. We are promised, "The weapons of our warfare are not car- 
nal but mighty through God to the pulling down of 
strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing 
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing 
into captivity every thought unto obedience to Christ." II 
Cor. 10:4-5 

C. If the church doesn't take up the battle against evolution, 
who shall? HOW MANY OF YOU ARE DOING SO? THE 
TELEVISION? THE NATIONAL MAGAZINES? IT 
SEEMS AS IF EVERY AVENUE OF EDUCATION AND 
COMMUNICATION (AND EVEN GREAT SEGMENTS 
OF SO-CALLED CHRISTENDOM) ARE BEING USED IN 
VERY ATTRACTIVE WAYS TO PROMOTE EVOLU- 
TION!! 

IV. DEFINITIONS 

A. Science: the search for, observation of, and recording of 
natural phenomena (facts) — I recognize this may over 
simplify science but I insist that anything beyond this and one 
leaves the realm of pure science and gets in the realm of 
philosophy (especially when the scientist seeks to determine 
means and ends or meanings and values). 

B. Evolution: "a one-way process, irreversible in time, produc- 
ing apparent novelties and greater variety, and leading to 
higher degrees of organization, more differentiated, more 
complex, but at the same time more integrated." Julian Hux- 



137 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ley, evolution's chief present-day spokesman 
C. With these definitions in mind, let us examine the question of 
whether there is any evidence that such a process as Huxley 
defined is NOW taking place or has ever taken place. As Dr. 
Henry Morris says, we shall find, in the evidence investigated, 
that "the answer both Scripturally and Scientifically, is, une- 
quivocally, NO, NO, NO! 

THIS EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS — LEADING TO HIGHER 
DEGREES OF ORGANIZATION — FROM SIMPLE TO COM- 
PLEX HAS NEVER BEEN OBSERVED AND RECORDED AS A 
NATURAL FACT!!! IT IS NOT SCIENTIFIC. AND, AS WE 
SHALL SEE, THE DOCTRINES OF DARWINISM, IF APPLIED 
TO MANKIND LEAD TO WAR, CHEATING, BREAKDOWN OF 
ALL STANDARDS EXCEPT THAT MIGHT MAKES RIGHT! 



Discussion 

PHYSICS 

A. There are three basic laws of science; no laws of science are 
more firmly fixed and established than these three laws. They 
hold priority over all other laws of science. They are so basic 
they are referred to as the "first, second and third laws." 
THERE ARE NO KNOWN VIOLATIONS OF THESE 
LAWS! 

1. They are; biogenesis — 1st law of thermodynamics~2nd 
law of thermodynamics; we shall discuss the law of bio- 
genesis in a later section on biology. 

B. For now let us deal with the first law of thermodynamics 
which is the law of the conservation of energy. 

1 . Energy can be transformed in various ways, but it can be 
neither created or destroyed. 

2. This universally observed and accepted law squarely con- 
tradicts the evolutionary theory that creation (i.e., in- 
creasing organization and complexity and development, 
or bringing something out of nothing which is really what 
creation is) is continually taking place in the present. 



138 



EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

3. The creation of the physical universe must have preceded 
this observed first law and therefore scientific law 
testifies to creation — not evolution 

4. Matter and energy cannot be created, while the 1st law of 
thermodynamics is valid. This law is observable . . . sub- 
jective whims or wishes or extralogical statements of the 
evolutionists cannot over -ride the cold facts of observed 
nature. 

C. The Second Law of Thermodynamics: "there is an irreversi- 
ble tendency for processes in a self-contained system to go 
toward lower order — toward decay, disorder, disintegration, 
a "running down." Systems run down hill — they don't wind 
themselves up. 

1. Dr. Morris says, "It would hardly be possible to conceive 
of two more completely opposite principles than the one 
of the 2nd law of thermodynamics and the theory of 
evolution. 

2. NOW IT IS A LAW OF LOGIC AND REASON THAT 
TWO CONTRADICTORY PROPOSITIONS CANNOT 
BOTH BE TRUE . . . BOTH MAY BE FALSE, BUT 
BOTH COULD NOT POSSIBLE, RATIONALLY BE 
TRUE! And yet the 2nd law of entropy is the best 
established law of science known to man! Even evolu- 
tionists are forced to admit its validity, Biologist Harold 
Blum says, "One way of stating this law is to say that all 
real processes tend to go toward a condition of greater 
improbability (disorder)." 

It is hard to believe that evolutionary-minded scientists 
overlook this universal law through ignorance, yet in the 
great Darwinian Centennial in 1959, held in Chicago, in 
three volumes of scientific papers published from this 
meeting, it is almost impossible to find any mention of 
this problem at all! 

SCIENCE ACTUALLY PROVES THE EVOLU- 
TIONARY THEORY TO BE FALSE . . . EVOLU- 
TION ACTUALLY CONTRADICTS THE THREE 
BEST KNOWN, UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED LAWS 
OF SCIENCE!!! EVOLUTION IS NOT ONLY NOT 



139 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

SCIENTIFIC IT IS DISPROVED BY SCIENCE! 
II. BIOLOGY 

A. Consider next the universally accepted law of Biogenesis 
which says, "life comes from life — every living organism 
came from some other living organism." This is observed and 
demonstrated in every instance and there are no known viola- 
tions of this law — so called spontaneous generation of life 
has never been observed. 

1. In fact, Louis Pasteur demonstrated conclusively that 
there was no such thing as "spontaneous generation of 
life" by laboratory experiments 

2. Prof. Geo. Wald (an evolutionist) says, ". . . there are 
only two possibilities: Either life arose by spontaneous 
generation, which the professor had just refuted: or it 
arose by supernatural creation, which he probably 
regarded as anti-scientific ... for my part, / think the 
only tenable scientific view is that life originally did arise 
by spontaneous generation. ..." HE MIGHT AS 
WELL HAVE SAID, "IT IS MY SUBJECTIVE OPI- 
NION ..." because that is all it is . . . the law of 
biogenesis says NO! 

B. It used to be that evolutionists tried to prove man's biological 
and evolutionary descent from ape by comparing blood 

1 . In the first place all claims for the evolutionary process 
by comparing blood did not take place with tests of whole 
blood but with tests using blood serum (the watery 
substance of the blood) and this is far different from us- 
ing whole blood. 

2. In the second place the primary factors of heredity do not 
lie in the blood but in germ and sperm cells so evolution 
cannot be proved by blood. 

3. Blood types are so different that there are two ladies (one 
in Canada and the other in the Philippines) who alone 
have the same type of blood in all the world . . . any other 
blood type injected would kill either one of them. 

C. Variations 

1 . The minute variations between species and within species 
as observed by Darwin: 



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EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

a. Kellogg says, "The results of modern biological 
study have shown that many of these small variations 
are not inherited. They are merely fluctuations 
around a mean to which the offspring tend constant- 
ly to return." 

b. A classic example of Darwin's foggy thinking: He 
cited the long neck of the giraffe as an outstanding 
example of natural selection. As a result of recurrent 
and extended droughts the supply of green leaves 
from the lower limbs of trees diminished so that the 
shorter animals died off and after centuries of 
natural selection, the long-necked giraffes survived, 
and grew long necks in stretching after remaining 
green leaves. BUT THE FEMALE GIRAFFE IS 
ABOUT 2 FT. SHORTER THAN THE MALE SO 
THAT ALL THE FEMALES WOULD HAVE 
PERISHED LONG BEFORE THE MALES ... SO 
HOW ARE BABY GIRAFFES BORN!? AND 
EVEN IF THEY WERE BORN HOW DID THE 
LITTLE ONES SURVIVE? 

2. Acquired characteristics 

a. They are not inherited, consider the small feet of 
Chinese women — why are they bound generation 
after generation — what about circumcision, scars, 
missing limbs? 

b. Even if we suppose they might be inherited, no new 
kind or species has ever been known to have 
originated from such variation! 

D. Mendel's Law 

1 . What Mendel has proven both as to animals and plants is 
that NO VARIATION OUTSIDE THE LIMITS OF 
SPECIES IS POSSIBLE 

2. It is now a fixed law of biology that "the factors which 
the individual receives and none other are those which he 
can transmit to his offspring." 

3. Weismann, an evolutionist who experimented with mice 
cutting off their tails for 19 generations gave up in disgust 
for the tails of the last were just as long as the first. 



141 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

4. There are no known violations of Mendel's law!! 
E. Mutations (freaks, etc.) caused by mixing up of genes 

1. Mutant forms are almost exclusively lethal . . . those 
that are not lethal offer no help to the specie for the 
struggle for survival. 

2. In all mutations no genes can be shown to have originated 
or to have changed . . . mutations are simply mix-ups of 
genes transmitted from the parents (probably caused by 
radiation) 

3. Experiments with fruit fly for 1000s of generations shows 
evolution from one species to another does not happen, 
even given many generations in which to occur 

4. All mutations, even if inherited (and there is some ques- 
tion about this), are fully in line with the 2nd law of 
thermodynamics so a mutation is A DISORGANI- 
ZATION . . . NOT HEADED TOWARD ORGANI- 
ZATION OR COMPLEXITY ... A MERE RE- 
SHUFFLING OF GENETIC FACTORS ALREADY 
PRESENT BY INDUCED RADIATION IS NOT 
EVOLUTION 

F. Fixity of Kind 

1. The species are fixed, rigid. Varieties do not pass beyond 
certain limits. They do not transform into species. There 
are no transitorial forms to be found. Evolutionists have 
never produced complete evidence of any one species 
from a preceding form unrelated to its successor!! 

2. To the contrary, present species as far as all observable 
evidence thus far discovered, are identical with their 
oldest ancestors. 

3. Furthermore, all present varities within one species, left 
to natural breeding, will eventually revert to one species. 
This has been demonstrated by observed experiments. 

Evolutionists are constantly vacillating between one line of alleged 
evidence and another. For awhile they appealed to paleontology as the 
most likely evidence to support their theories . . . now it seems the 
paleontologists are turning to biology to produce the best 
evidence . . . G.G. Simpson, reknowned paleontologist of Harvard 
wrote in the Ency. Brit. Yearbook, 1965, "Molecular and organismal 



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EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

biologists are now beginning a cooperation that will surely prove fruit- 
ful. Numerous efforts have been initiated in the last year or so to inter- 
pret molecular biology in evolutionary terms. It is too early to say just 
what the results will be, but they are certainly promising." 
Mr. Simpson is an ardent evolutionist and a world reknowned paleon- 
tologist and yet in 1965 he admits the fossil record does not prove 
evolution and cites us to the field of biology, hopeful it will soon bear 
fruit to prove evolution. Simpson even returns to the disproved theory 
of spontaneous generation hoping to save his theory, saying, "The 
spontaneous generation of the first living things did occur." BUT 
WHAT PROOF DID HE OFFER? NONE! JUST AN EMPTY 
ASSERTION. Isn't it strange indeed that evolutionary scientists leave 
their own field and point the student to another for the "proof of this 
theory of evolution?" 
III. GEOLOGY (Paleontology) 

A. The whole geological series as theorized and charted in tex- 
tbooks by evolutionary geologists can be found intact in not 
ONE PLACE ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH SO FAR 
INVESTIGATED! 

B. Literally any rock system in the so-called geologic series or 
column may be found lying directly on the oldest or youngest 
rocks or reversed, or in any combination of arrangements at 
any given location 

1. In fact, in an area covering some 10,000 square mi. in 
north U.S. and Canada the geologic scale of evolution is 
found UPSIDE DOWN, COMPLETELY REVERSED! 
YOUNGEST ON THE BOTTOM AND MOST AN- 
CIENT ON TOP! 

2. Dr. Walter E. Lammerts, among others, have in- 
vestigated thoroughly the various places where scientists 
have tried to explain these reversals by "thrust faults" 
and reports that there is absolutely no evidence for such 
— the rock strata gives no evidence of any grinding, 
disturbing process but each strata lies conformably un- 
disturbed on top of the other. 

C. At least some paleontologists have been honest enough to ad- 
mit the fallacy of the geological argument in a circle. R.H. 
Rastal of Cambridge U. saysinEncy. Brit., 1956, Vol. 10, pg. 



143 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

168, "It cannot be denied that from a strictly philosophical 
standpoint geologists are here arguing in a circle. The succes- 
sion of organisms has been determined by a study of their re- 
mains buried in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks 
are determined by the remains of the organisms they 
contain." THEY USE THE ROCKS TO PROVE THE AGE 
OF THE FOSSILS AND THEN SAY THE AGE OF THE 
FOSSILS PROVE THE AGE OF THE ROCKS. 

D. Again from the famous paleontologist, Simpson, an evolu- 
tionist, "Fossils are abundant only from the Cambrian on- 
ward. . . . The case at present must remain inexplicable; and 
may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views 
(evolution) here entertained." from Great Books of the 
Western World, pub. by Ency. Brit. 

BESIDES ALL THIS, NORMAL RATES OF SEDIMENTATION 
AS POSTULATED BY THE UNIFORMITY PRINCIPLE ARE 
MEANINGLESS AS FAR AS THE FOSSIL RECORD IS CON- 
CERNED BECAUSE FOSSILS ARE NOT FORMED BY 
NATURAL PROCESSES OVER LONG PERIOD OF 
TIME . . . BUT BY SUDDEN CATASTROPHIC EVENTS! 

E. The geologic evidence observed thus far shows a sudden out- 
burst of living forms exactly like the species we have today 
with a few minor exceptions. 

1. Dr. Austin H. Clark, of U.S. National Museum, "No 
matter how far back we go in the fossil record of previous 
animal life upon the earth, we find no trace of any animal 
forms which are intermediate between the various 
phyla. . . . Since we have not the slightest evidence, 
either among the living or the fossil animals, of any in- 
tergrading types following between major groups, it is a 
fair supposition that there never have been any such in- 
tergrading types." NO INTERMEDIATE FORMS MY 
FRIEND! LIVING OR DEAD! 

2. AND THE PROBLEM IS NOT TO FIND ONE MISS- 
ING LINK, BUT TO FIND 1000s AND 1000s OF MISS- 
ING LINKS WHICH WILL CONNECT THE MANY 
FOSSILS SPECIES WITH ONE ANOTHER! 

In 1938 deep-water fishermen, who were fishing off the coast of S. 



144 



EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

Africa, brought to the surface a fighting, threshing fish 5 ft. long and 
127 lbs. such as they had never seen before. Scientists, being called to 
investigate, called it the Coelacanth, identical in every respect with the 
Coelacanths whose fossils are found in considerable numbers buried 
in the strata of the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere. These strata are 
said by evolutionists to have been formed in the Triassic Age, and the 
fish whose fossils these strata contain are said to have become extinct 
90 million years agol Another fish of the exact same type was caught 
off Madagascar in Dec. 1952. 
IV. THE ANTIQUITY OF MAN 

A. When we examine the evidence upon which evolutionists have 
reconstructed the different "pre-historic ape or pre-ape men" 
we find things both ludicrous and dishonest. 

1. In the first place their evidence is extremely fragmentary: 
only a scraps of skulls, bits of bone, teeth and sometimes 
a whole bone ... yet whole men, whole races, whole 
civilizations have been constructed with a bone fragment 
or two and a wild, bizarre imagination! 

B. Prof. E.A. Hooton of Harvard says, "Some anatomists 
model reconstructions of fossil skulls by building up the soft 
parts of the head and face upon a skull case, and thus produce 
a bust purporting to represent the appearance of the fossil 
man in life. When, we recall the fragmentary condition of 
most of the skulls, the faces usually being missing, we can 
readily see that even the reconstruction of the facial skeleton 
leaves room for a good deal of doubt as to details. ... To at- 
tempt to restore the soft parts is even more hazardous. The 
lips, the eyes, the ears, and the nasal tip leave no clue on the 
bony parts as to their appearance. . . . These alleged restora- 
tions of ancient types of man have very little, if any, scientific 
value, and are likely only to mislead the public. . . . We do 
not know anything of the minutiae of the appearance of the 
Pithecanthropus, Heidelberg, Neanderthal types. We have no 
knowledge of their form, hair distribution, pigmentation, and 
the detail of such features as have been mentioned." 

C. Mistakes (the "convincing finds of science") 

1 . Pithecanthropus Erectus, found in Java, 1891, consisting 
of a part of a skull cap, a fragment of a left thighbone 



145 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

and 3 molar teeth . . . NOT FOUND TOGETHER, 
SCATTERED 50 ft. apart, numerous other bones of 
animals found scattered among them. The skull unusual- 
ly large and the thighbone too small for it proportionate- 
ly, yet 7 eminent men pronounced it the skull of a man; 6 
others that of an ape; 7 others divided between ape and 
man . . . undaunted by disagreements, they bundled up 
the bones, made a bronze bust of their imagination, put it 
in the American Museum of History and proclaimed that 
a whole race of ape-men had been discovered to exist half 
a million years ago 

2. Second Java Man, found 1926, near same as first, a skull 
cap ONLY was found. Vouched for by 2 eminent English 
scientists and heralded all over the world as the most im- 
portant discovery of the decade. THIS SUPPOSED 
MILLION YEAR OLD SKULL OF NEAR HUMAN 
TURNED OUT TO BE, AFTER SCIENTIFIC IN- 
VESTIGATION, THE KNEE CAP OF AN 
ELEPHANT! 

3. Hesperopithecus: from a tooth found in 1922, in 
Nebraska and introduced into the famous Scopes 
Monkey Trial as evidence of a race of men who lived in 
No. Amer. millions of years ago, men discovered only a 
few short years after Darrow had tried to humiliate Bryan 
that the tooth was that of a species of extinct pigs! 

4. Readers Digest, Oct. 1956 shows how the famous 
Piltdown Man regarded until recently as one of the 3 
most important of the "missing links" in man's evolu- 
tion, has now been formally declared to have been a 
clever hoax which fooled all the anthropological 
specialists for 40 years!!!! A DELIBERATE TRICK BY 
MANIPULATING THE BONES, ARTIFICIALLY 
AGING THEM ETC. 

Byron C. Nelson, in After Its Kind, shows how the profile of Marquis 
de Lafayette, Rev. war hero could be placed in exact conformity, 
slanted forehead and all, right over a supposed Neanderthal skull 
fragment. The Cro-Magnon man's skull has an even higher and nobler 
forehead and larger brain capacity than the so-called brilliant Charles 



146 



EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

Darwin! 

What do we have then when we sum up all the evidence: NOT ONLY 
IS THERE NO EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE THE THEORY, 
THERE IS, IN FACT, SCIENTIFIC, OBSERVED, 
DEMONSTRATED EVIDENCE THAT SUCH A THEORY IS 
FALSE . . . SUCH A THEORY IN NO WAY CONFORMS TO 
OBSERVED, PROVEN SCIENTIFIC PHENOMENA 

JESUS SAID OF TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS . , ."BY THEIR 
FRUITS SHALL YE KNOW THEM. . . ." LET US LOOK AT THE 
FRUIT, THE CONSEQUENCES, THE RESULTS OF BELIEVING 
AND LIVING THE GREAT LIE . . . EVOLUTION! DOES IT BR- 
ING FORTH GOOD FRUIT OR EVIL FRUIT!? 
V. THE FRUITS (CONSEQUENCES) OF EVOLUTION 

A. Bernhardi and Nietzsche 

1. "War is a biological necessity of the first 
importance . . . War gives a biologically just 
decision . . . Might is at once the supreme right." Ber- 
nhardi 

2. "Man shall be trained for war, and woman for the 
recreation of the warrior: all else is folly." Nietzsche 

3. Hitler (Nietzsche's follower) "The whole of nature is a 
continuous struggle between strength and weakness, an 
eternal victory of the strong over the weak." 

B. Clarence Darrow and Loeb and Leopold 

"In May, 1924 two youth, Loeb and Leopold, cruelly 
murdered a 14 year old boy, Bobby Franks, by name, in 
Chicago. At their trial in the following August these 2 young 
men were defended by the celebrated criminal lawyer (himself 
an evolutionist) Clarence Darrow. His speech is regarded as 
one of the greatest judicial materpieces in American history. 
During the course of his remarks in defense of Leopold, Dar- 
row said, "I will guarantee that you can go down to the Univ. 
of Chicago today — into its big library — and find over a 
1000 volumes on Nietzsche, and I am sure I speak moderate- 
ly. If this boy is to blame for this, where did he get it? Is there 
any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche's 



147 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

philosophy seriously and fashioned his life on it? And there is 
no question in this case but what it is true. Then who is to 
blame? The University would be more to blame than he is. 
The scholars of the world would be more to blame than he is. 
The publishers of the world — and Nietzsche's books are 
published by one of the biggest publishers of the world — are 
more to blame than he. Your Honor, it is hardly fair to hang 
a 19 yr. old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the 
university." 

C. Bertrand Russell: "Brief and powerless is man's life; on him 
and on his race the slow sure doom falls pitiless and dark. 
Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent 
matter rolls on its rentless ways; for man condemned today to 
lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of 
darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere the blow falls, the 
lofty thoughts that enoble his little days. ..." 

D. H.G. Wells: "In spite of all my desperation to a brave look- 
ing optimism, I perceive that now the universe is bored with 
him (man), is turning a hard face to him, and I see him being 
carried less and less intelligently and more and more rapidly, 
suffering as every ill-adapted creature must suffer in gross 
and detail, along the stream of fate to degradation, suffering 
and death." 

E. Will Durant: "Life has become in that total perspective which 
is philosophy, a fitful population of human insects on the 
earth, a planetary eczema that may soon be cured; nothing is 
certain in it except defeat and death — a sleep from which, it 
seems, there is no awakening. ..." 

EVOLUTION BEARS FRUIT ALRIGHT . . . WAR, SLAVERY, 
MURDER, PESSIMISM, DESPAIR! IT BRINGS A PHILOSOPHY 
OF SUB-HUMAN MORALS . . . EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE 
TO THE INDIVIDUAL'S DESIRES . . . MAN CLAIMS HE CAN- 
NOT HELP BEING WHAT HE IS . . . FREEDOM MEANS DO- 
ING AS EACH ONE LIKES ... IT BRINGS SENSUALITY, 
CRUELTY, IGNORANCE. 

Life magazine, May 25, 1962, editorial of a reporter interviewing 
students in some of America's most prestigious Prep-schools heard 



148 



tw 



EVOLUTION, UNSCIENTIFIC & IMMORAL 

them say to him: "Nothing's solid; there are no values to depend 
upon." "I have no values because there is no basis for them." "I 
haven't any goals because I don't know what to aim for." 
"Everything's gray; there aren't any values." WHERE DID THEY 
GET THESE STANDARDS? BY THEIR OWN MOUTH, 
"CHARLES DARWIN, SIGMUND FRUED, SARTRE, CAMUS, 
ARTHUR MILLER, J.D. SALINGER." READ IT YOURSELF! 
F. Evolution is IMPRACTICAL AND IMMORAL 

1. It has no basis in fact or truth therefore it is a lie. 

2. It is inconsistent with known fact and is therefore imprac- 
tical. 

3 . It has never been a help but in every instance a hindrance. 



Conclusion 
THE WORD OF GOD, ON THE OTHER HAND, 

I. Is a revelation of God, much of which took place in HISTORY, 
seen and heard by eyewitnesses and is FACTUAL AND DEPEN- 
DABLE 

A. The propositions and truths which are not verifiable by ex- 
perience in the Bible may therefore be trusted since it substan- 
tiates its claims to be a divinely revealed book from God. 

B. The Bible does not ask us to formulate a philosophy of life 
based upon theories and assumed "pre-historical 
happenings." BUT ON VERIFIED, OBSERVED 
EVIDENCES OF A SUPERNATURAL GOD AND 
CHRIST! 

II. Agrees with other true and pure scientific observables 

A. Fixity of kind; Aqueous cataclysm forming fossils 

B. Anthropological discoveries; Three basic laws of science 

III. Shown to be accurate in all its history by archaeological finds 

IV. Traceable to almost the very hands of the eyewitnesses who wrote 
it 

A. No other literature of antiquity can make that statement 

B. Preserved, believed in, proclaimed, practiced by millions, 
many of whom have gladly died to do so. 



149 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

V. Supernaturally verified by fulfilled prophecies; hundreds of years 
of history written 1000s of years before it occurred, yet fulfilled to 
the very detail. 

VI. Is Practical 

A. Promotes love, compassion, truth, justice, freedom, law & 
order 

B. It is reasonable and consistent 

C. Brings morality, hope, satisfaction, fulfillment, answers to 
life's perplexities 

Billy Graham tells of a young college girl, just recently voted 
"Queen" of her campus here in America, who had been involved in a 
fatal automobile accident. The mother was summoned to the dying 
girl's side only to hear these heart-rending words, "Mother, you 
taught me everything I needed to know to get by in college. You 
taught me how to light my cigarette, how to hold my cocktail glass and 
how to have intercourse safely. But Mother, you never taught me how 
to die. You better teach me quickly, Mother, because I'm dying." 

EVOLUTIONISM IS TEACHING YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER 
THAT THERE IS NO GOD . . . THEY ARE MERE 
ANIMALS . . . SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST . . . ALL 
MORALS ARE RELATIVE TO SATISFYING ANIMAL PAS- 
SIONS . . . WAR . . . MURDER! 

MOTHER AND FATHER, YOU'D BETTER BE TEACHING 
THEM HOW TO PREPARE FOR ETERNITY! 



150 



Chapter Five 

The problem of Perspective 
(5:1-21) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Why does Paul suggest the possibility of "nakedness" at death? 

2. How are we "away from the Lord" while we are "in the body"? 

3. Would christians ever "pride themselves on a man's position"? 

4. How is it possible for humans to "see no one from a human point 
of view"? 

5. How was "he (Christ) made to be sin who knew no sin"? 



Section 1 

Frailty of the Human Body (5:1-5) 

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, 
J we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens. 2 Here indeed we groan, and long to put 
on our heavenly dwelling, 3 so that by putting it on we may not be 
found naked. Tor while we are still in this tent, we sigh with 
anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be 
further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallwed up by 
life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has 
given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 

5:1-3 Provokes: The problem of perspective (outlook, view, vista) 
is as old as man! It began in the Garden of Eden. When God created 
man, he gave (or revealed) to man his divine perspective. This divine 
perspective (outlook) was to be applied to every human experience. 
But Satan (the rebel from heaven) came to earth and seduced man into 
rejecting the divine perspective. Man prostituted his viewpoint and 
perverted God's creation. At that point, for the sake of wooing man 
back to himself. God "subjected the creation to futility" (see Rom. 
8:18-25). This was a part of God's plan to redirect man's perspective. 
God intended to reclaim man's viewpoint so that it would become 



151 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

divinely oriented. 

Part and parcel with the "futility" of creation is the frailty of the 
human body. As a result of man's sin, his physical body was con- 
demned to dissolution and death. That very mortality of the body has 
presented a constant problem for man in the matter of perspective or 
viewpoint. The ultimate problem of human philosophy remains: there 
is no satisfactory metaphysical system (perspective, or viewpoint). The 
mortality of the human body frustrates all human metaphysical 
systems! And that is precisely where God wants all human 
metaphysical systems! The frailty of man provokes him to cry out for 
a perspective that is superhuman. 

The Bible bears witness that perspective is a problem that may 
plague preachers and saints. The cry for a divine viewpoint for mortal 
man is the essential focus of the wisdom literature of the Old Testa- 
ment (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon). The 
O.T. prophets were sent by God to call Israel to think and act accord- 
ing to the divine perspective revealed in the Law of Moses and in the 
messianic prophecies. Jesus, God incarnate, came to live the divine 
perspective as a human being thus proving it is possible for man to do 
so. Jesus saw, heard, thought, lived everything from God's viewpoint, 
and he did it all as a human being within the human experience. All 
the epistles, and especially the book of Revelation, are revelations of 
the Holy Spirit directing and guiding man toward the divine perspec- 
tive. 

Loss of divine perspective was the crucial problem with the chris- 
tians at Corinth and Paul dealt with it pointedly in I Corinthians, 
chapter 15. Here, in II Corinthians 5, Paul admits that his own mor- 
tality gives him occasion to "groan" and "sigh with anxiety" and 
struggle with the need for a constant divine perspective. Christians, 
preachers, missionaries are not immune from this problem. They, too, 
are mortal. 

Unlike unbelieving philosophers, Paul knew where to find and 
how to appropriate a divine perspective. Paul could look beyond 
human mortality to a perfect and eternal existence by faith based on 
the historical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 5:14-15). 

The word "For" in 5:1 connects what follows to Paul's statement 
of the christian perspective in 4:16-18. Christians are to see their total 
experience in this life from the perspective of the ' 'eternal weight of 



152 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

glory" which is "beyond all comparison." And that includes the mor- 
tality of the human body. The Greek word oidamen is present tense 
meaning, "We are continuing to know. . . ." In other words, the 
divine perspective needs to be a continuing experience. The christian 
needs to remind himself every day to look at everything and every per- 
son from God's viewpoint. The only place to find God's viewpoint is 
in the Bible. The mind of Christ is revealed no place else (see com- 
ments, I Cor. 2:1-6). Christians are to look to the Bible for God's 
viewpoint on every aspect of life. Paul's knowledge went beyond 
human philosophy or logic for he knew everything from a divine 
perspective, that is, from divine revelation. 

The Greek phrase, he epigeios hemon oikia ton skenous, would be 
literally translated, ". . . our dirt-house, this tent. . . ." The word 
epigeios is translated, "earthly" and is a compound of epi ("down") 
and ge ("soil, land, ground"). The human body is emphatically of the 
soil! It is marvelously fashioned, but essentially dirt. It is bound to 
and inseparable from the soil. The word skenous ("tent" or "taber- 
nacle") is poignant. Our human bodies are like tents — temporary 
and uncomfortable. Nomads and pilgrims live in tents. They are 
always looking for permanent dwelling places (see Heb. 11:8-16). 

The Greek word kataluthe is the very word which was used by the 
ancients for "striking down a tent" in preparation for moving on. 
When Paul said ' 'For we know that ;/ this earthly tent we live in is 
destroyed . . .", he meant when this earthly tent is destroyed (or, 
"struck down"). He had no doubt that flesh and blood cannot inherit 
the kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:50), and this human body of dust must 
perish and/or be changed (I Cor. 15:51-54). 

Taking his stand on the revelation of God, Paul's viewpoint 
(perspective) transcended earth and time. He saw eternity! Thus he 
was able to say, "We have a building from God, a house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens." The Greek word echomen is a 
present tense participle. We now have an eternal building. The word 
oikodomen means "a strong edifice" in contrast to a temporary tent. 
God has already prepared our heavenly body ("building") and it is 
there waiting for us when we "strike our tent" in this pilgrim-land. 
We do not know what we shall be (I John 3:2); just what our eternal 
body will be is yet a "mystery" (unrevealed), but it will be somewhat 
like the body put back into the earth at death (like the plant resembles 



153 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

the seed), and it will be glorious, imperishable, powerful, spiritual, 
immortal, and eternal (I Cor. 15:35-54). The phrase, "not made with 
hands" is simply an idiomatic way of saying our eternal body is 
spiritual, not physical. It is the best human language can do in trying 
to describe something outside the human experience. What words 
would one use to depict a human body that is not flesh and blood? It is 
a "forever" body, and it is located in the other world ("in the 
heavens"). 

In verse 2, Paul is very careful to explain the need for a divine 
perspective in light of the frailty of the present body of dust. He does 
not want to be misunderstood. When he writes about the "heavenly 
dwelling" he is not writing about a disembodied, ghostly existence. 
We are in this body of the earth now. And we know it will soon be go- 
ing back to the dust from whence it came. So we "groan" (Gr. 
stenazomen, complain, grieve) and greatly desire (Gr. epipothountes, 
long) to "put on" our heavenly building or dwelling. 

Paul keeps switching metaphors of our eternal existence between 
"building" and "clothing." Man envisions himself as "naked" (Gr. 
gumnos, bare, exposed, Matt. 25:36; Acts 19:16; I Cor. 15:37; Heb. 
4:13; Rev. 3:17), dispossessed, insecure, without a body. 
Man fears the death of this body because of the anticipation of disem- 
bodiment. So Paul repeatedly affirms in this text (and in I Cor. 15) 
that the christian should not view death as a time of exposure, 
dispossession or disembodiment. When the christian's earthly body 
dies, he immediately (see notes on II Cor. 5:6-13) becomes "further 
clothed." 

5:4-5 Pressures: The word "anxiety" is a translation of the Greek 
word baroumenoi, which more literally means, burdened, or pressed 
down. Paul used it to describe the anxiety and pressure the christian 
feels as he anticipates the dissolution (death) of this physical body. No 
christian, not even the apostle Paul, is in such perfect command of his 
emotions that he is completely unafraid of death. All christians feel 
some anxiety as they anticipate death and the next life — especially 
anxiety about the next body, about consciousness, about where they 
will be and who they will recognize. The prospect of death is not plea- 
sant for any one, and to insist that the Scriptures require believers to 
face death without anxiety or fear is a false interpretation of the Bible. 
Paul's faith was sure; his confidence was firm. Yet, he shrank from 



154 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

the idea of being without a body and "naked." This is what "bur- 
dened" Paul. But again, Paul was able to bear this anxiety (burden, 
pressure) because he had the divine perspective. Those without the 
divine perspective are devastated by this pressure. 

Paul reveals here an immediate embodiment for christians who 
die. He knew nothing of some disembodied spiritual existence, or 
soul-sleep, or intermediate temporary-body existence after death. For 
Paul, the state of existence for the christian immediately after the 
death of this earthly body was one of being "further clothed" (Gr. 
ependusasthai). For Paul, the instant the christian puts off this earthly 
"tent," his life is "swallowed up" (Gr. katapothe, absorbed, over- 
whelmed, consumed, devoured) by eternal life and by victory (I Cor. 
15:54). Later, Paul will describe the next existence for the christian as 
"at home with the Lord" (II Cor. 5:8). 

There is even the hint here that Paul was anxious to die and put off 
this earthly body because he knew he would not be naked at death, but 
rather abundantly "clothed" at home with the Lord. He expresses just 
such anticipation in Philippians 1:22-23, "... Yet which I shall 
choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is 
to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better." 

Ray C. Stedman says of this passage, in his book, Expository 
Studies in 2 Corinthians, Power Out of Weakness: 

"What Paul means, of course, is that when we leave this body we also 
leave time. It is not easy to re-train our thinking along these lines, 
because we project time into eternity, assuming eternity is simply time 
going on forever, but it is not. ... In time we are all locked into the 
same rigid sequence of events. . . . But in eternity there is no past or 
future; there is simply one great present moment. Therefore, the events 
we experience in eternity are never anything we have to wait for, they are 
always what we are ready for, what we are spiritually prepared 
for. . . . The Scriptures clearly teach that when a believer dies, he ex- 
periences immediately the coming of the Lord for his own." 

So in verse 5 Paul says that God has been preparing (Gr. 
katergasamenos, moulding, fitting, working, shaping) us for this very 
thing. That "thing" for which we are being "moulded" in this ex- 
istence is the "building from God," the "house not made with 
hands," our "heavenly dwelling," with which we shall be "further 
clothed" and "swallowed up." And this shall be the state of the 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

believer immediately after being "unclothed" from this earthly body, 
for he will never be "naked." 

I Thessalonians 4:16-18 says that when Jesus comes again, he will 
be accompanied by all those who have been dead in Christ. But it will 
only appear to those left alive on earth that the dead have been raised 
first, when in actuality we are all raised together, to be always with the 
Lord. That is the way it will appear to men because of their finite con- 
ception of eternity! The believer goes immediately to be with the Lord 
in a conscious, embodied state when he sheds this earthly body at 
death (see I Sam. 28:14ff; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 23:43; Rev. 6:9-11; 
7:9-12). His existence after death is very far better (Phil. 1:23), and 
therefore could not be a disembodied state. 

God prepares us for this very far better existence by these "slight," 
momentary afflictions" (see Rom. 8:18, 28; II Cor. 4:16-18), and by 
"forming Christ in us" (Gal. 4:19). In face, God's Spirit in us is his 
guarantee (Gr. arrabona, down-payment, earnest) that we shall have a 
very far better "clothing" in the next existence (see Rom. 8:23; Eph. 
1:13-14; I Pet. 1:3-5). The Spirit, living in our minds through his 
Word (John 6:63; I Pet. 1:22-24) gives us a foretaste of the very far 
better life and creates in our spirits a longing for the full redemption 
(Rom. 8:18ff). And if God guarantees it, who can prove it otherwise 
(see Rom. 8:31-39). 

While the frailty of the human body provokes and pressures, and 
makes us fear the possibility of dispossession after it dies (and it is cer- 
tain to die), christians may know with abiding assurance that God is 
preparing them for an elegant (glorious) "body" beyond all imagina- 
tion. They need not fear dispossession or nakedness, because when 
they are absent from this body, they are immediately at home with the 
Lord. That is the divine perspective. Without the divine perspective 
there "remains only a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire 
which will consume the adversaries" (Heb. 10:27). 



Section 2 
Frustration of the Human Soul (5:6-15) 

6 So we are always of good courage; we know that while we 

156 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk 
by faith, not by sight. 8 We are of good courage, and we would 
rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So 
whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please 
him. )0 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of 
Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to 
what he has done in the body. 

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade 
men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known 
also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to 
you again but giving you cause to be proud of us, so that you 
may be able to answer those who pride themselves on a man's 
position and not on his heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it 
is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the 
love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has 
died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, that 
those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him 
who for their sake died and was raised. 

5:6-10 Unfulfilled Vindication: A very present problem with 
human perspective is man's need for vindication. It is an urgency 
within the soul of every human being that cries out for satisfaction. 
The fundamental desire for righting all wrong was created in the 
human soul. But in this fallen world, rebelling against God, wrong is 
not always righted. Most of this world chooses to be "away from the 
Lord. ' ' It does not acknowledge that righteousness and justice are pre- 
sent only when the Lord is present (see Isa. 26:9-10). It has been seduc- 
ed by the devil. The world's perspective is flawed, and thus men are 
frustrated. Even christians may become frustrated if they are not 
careful to maintain the divine perspective. 

But Paul made every effort to constantly view the wrong in this 
world (especially wrong done to him personally) in the light of divine, 
justice. The apostle kept the divine perspective and it made him 
"always of good courage." The Greek word tharrountes, translated 
"of good courage," is related to the Greek words thero and therme 
from which we get the English word thermal, thus, "warm, tempered, 
bold, confident, courageous, etc." Thero was a favorite word of the 
Stoics. But Paul's courage {thero) was not at all like the detached im- 



157 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

passiveness of the Stoics. 

"At home in the body" is from the Greek words endemountes en 
to somati. Endemountes is a compound of en and demos, and literally 
means "among one's own." In this text endemountes is contrasted 
with ekdemountes which means, "away from one's own." Paul is say- 
ing that when we are "among our own" in the body, we are "away 
from our own" in the Lord. Paul did not mean that the Lord was ab- 
sent from him in his earthly existence. The Lord is the Holy Spirit, and 
the reality of his presence, his actual presence, is mediated to the 
believer through the Third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. 
Yet in spite of Christ's constant presence through the Spirit of God in 
us (Matt. 28:20; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:9-10, etc.), 
there is a sense in which the christian is away from, separated from, 
the Lord as long as he lives in this world. While we are "in the body" 
the Lord's presence is not direct and unmediated with us, but is in- 
direct. It is not until we are "away from the body" that we shall have 
his direct presence (see Rev. 21:3; 22:3-4). 

In the meantime, we must "walk by faith and not by sight." We 
must view everything in this "away-from-the-Lord" existence through 
the divine perspective. And it is important that we understand our 
"away-from-the-Lord" existence as something inferior to what our 
"at-home-with-the-Lord" experience will be. Our eagerness to pro- 
claim the christian life in this world as the ultimate experience occa- 
sionally leaves people with the impression that there is nothing better 
to come! We must never do that! The christian life even at its best in 
this world is far inferior to that which it shall be in the next world. 
Christians must never de-emphasize the strength and courage derived 
from walking with Christ by faith in this life. On the other hand, it 
would be difficult for the christian to over-emphasize the glory and 
blessedness of the promised life to come for all believers. 

Having such a divine perspective, says Paul, makes the believer 
ambitious (Gr. philotimoumetha, lit. "to search for honor, to love 
honor") to please the Lord whether in the earthly body or in the 
heavenly existence. Of course, Paul would rather be away from the 
body and at home with the Lord. With this statement Paul dispenses 
with any theories that life after death is in any way inferior to this ex- 
istence. We are, therefore, to assume that in the next life the believer 
will be conscious, embodied, immortal, spiritual, holy, good, just, 



158 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

beautiful, joyful, and in the direct presence of Christ. Whatever it was 
like for those believers to have enjoyed the incarnate presence of 
Christ in the Gospels, will be magnified millions of times in heaven. 
And the one thing which pleased Christ most about men when he was 
here on earth was their readiness to believe him and obey him. 

A significant part of having the divine perspective is to believe the 
coming judgment of Christ, and to act in accordance with that belief. 
The person who refuses to see the world, history, or himself as in- 
evitably coming under the scrutiny and sovereignty of the Absolute 
Redeemer, has a flawed perspective. Such a person will surely suffer 
the frustration of having no hope for ultimate vindication of right 
over wrong. Such a person will have no hope that final justice will ever 
be accomplished. Such a person's perspective can only lead to irra- 
tional stoicism, at best, and existential despair, at worst. 

The word "For" in verse 10 connects Paul's appeal for a 
judgment-perspective to his "ambition" to be always pleasing the 
Lord. In other words, the christian's magnificent obsession should be 
to always please the Lord because he must inevitably appear before 
the judgment seat of Christ. The word appear is from the Greek word 
phanerothenai and means, "made manifest, revealed, unveiled, ex- 
posed." What Christ is going to do at the judgment for the christian is 
to reveal the christian to himself! Christ certainly does not need a 
special time to put people on trial in order to discover their deeds or 
motives. Christ already knows the "secrets of men's hearts." This is 
not a judgment to settle final destiny. This is a personal evaluation 
given to each individual by the Lord himself of what the individual's 
life has really been like. Paul looked forward to this judgment because 
he believed the Lord would be showing many things Paul thought 
were failures that were really successes. The Lord will reveal many 
things that pleased him which no one else heard of or applauded 
(see Matt. 25:31-46; Mark 12:41-44). Everyone who has made it his 
aim (ambition) to please the Lord is going to be surprised by joy at this 
"manifestation." It will be a time of disclosure and evaluation when 
all mankind learns for the first time, and perfectly, who was right and 
what attitudes men should have had or should not have had. It will 
also be a time of encouragement where believers will see and learn the 
real value of many things that they thought no one knew and which 
they themselves often did not understand. The evil that men have done 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

will also be exposed, evaluated and repaid. 

Thinking and living in the light of perfect evaluation should drive 
men to seek the divine perspective. Christ is primarily concerned with 
our motives. That is why Paul said he always made it his "ambition" 
to please the Lord. It is "ambition," aim, motive, that counts most 
with Christ. Our "ambition" here (not the quantity of our ac- 
complishments) determines the degree to which we will be rewarded in 
the next life! The person who has understood this will not be 
frustrated with life in this world where one's "ambitions" for the 
Lord often exceed his opportunities and capabilities. He has the divine 
perspective. 

5:11-15 Unmitigated Vanity: Another frustration of the human 
soul is the unmitigated vanity with which the christian is surrounded in 
this world. While the christian is in this earthy existence he must live 
among proud, arrogant, malicious people who are always attacking 
his motives and his veracity. Jesus even experienced this as incarnate 
God! It was a constant source of frustration to the apostle Paul that 
men should slander his motives. Paul's answer here is that his motives 
are vindicated as pure because of his divine perspective. 

Someone in Corinth had persuaded the christians there that Paul 
was seeking to win the favor of men for his own selfish ends. Paul 
answered that he was busy trying to persuade men to follow Christ, 
not for his own selfish ends, but because he was always trying to 
please the Lord. And his ambition to always please the Lord was 
because he "knew the terror of the Lord." 

The fear (Greek, phobon, phobia, terror) of the Lord is not as un- 
common to the New Testament as some people think! Jesus taught his 
disciples to fear God (see Matt. 10:26-33; Lk. 12:4-7). See also 
Hebrews 12:28; I Pet. 1:17; 3:2; I Tim. 5:20; Heb. 4:1; Rev. 14:7; 
19:5; Phil. 2:12; Jude 23, etc. The Old Testament makes the fear of 
the Lord (reverence, awe) one of the fundamental bases of holiness 
(Eccl. 12:13; Job 28:28; Prov. 1:7; Psa. 15:4; 22:23; 33:8; 34:9; 
115:11, 13; 118:4; 135:20). 

The fear Paul points to here is his fear (reverence) for the Lord. 
This is what motivated Paul to persuade men. His motives were not 
selfish in the least. Paul preached to men to bring glory and honor to 
God, not to himself. Paul's view of life, his perspective, included the 
fear of God and the judgment. Therefore, he was able to keep his 



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THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

motives pure, as well as his actions. It would not be out of order for all 
christians to have this perspective. It well behooves the Church today 
to "restore" a proper fear and awe of God. More reverence would be 
a good thing! It would solve the problem of perspective! 

Paul uses the Greek word peithomen to speak of his efforts to con- 
vince the Corinthians of his sincerity. Knowing fully the fear of the 
Lord and that his every ambition is clearly open to the Lord and will 
be "manifested" by the Lord Paul wants to persuade (Gr. peithomen, 
conciliate, win favor of, satisfy; see Matt. 28:14; Acts 12:20) those in 
Corinth who doubt that his motives are pure. Paul wants the Corin- 
thian christians to grasp the divine perspective and judge him in light 
of that. 

Verse 12 is Paul's answer to any possible misinterpretation .of his 
words as self-glorifying. He says that his real reason in defending his 
sincerity was that the Corinthian christians might have an answer to. 
give those who were criticizing him. Evidently there were some who 
had come to the Corinthian church (probably Judaizers) who took 
pride in their position (being probably from the Jerusalem church and 
claiming the sanction of the "pillar" apostles, Peter, James, etc.) and 
were slandering the apostle Paul's motives. Paul has already men- 
tioned these Judaizers in II Corinthians, chapter 3. An interesting 
Greek phrase, en prosopo kauchomenous, "in facerboasting," is 
translated, "pride in position." The Judaizers were manipulating 
these Corinthians with their "appearances" or their religious facades, 
rather than bringing any honest or factual evidence against Paul. They 
were throwing their weight around rather than allowing anyone to 
search their hearts and motives. They were presenting exactly the .op- 
posite perspective that Paul was presenting to the Corinthians.' They 
were presenting the human perspective — Paul was presenting the 
divine perspective! 

Look at Paul's fervor and total commitment from the human 
perspective and he appears crazy (mad)! (see Acts 26:24ff). It may be 
that some of the Judaizers pointed to him as an example of an 
egomaniac (or perhaps a paranoiac) because he appealed so often to 
his own sincerity, his fervency for the gospel, and his wide ministry. 
His enemies may well have accused him of a mania for recognition, 
that he was "mad" for position or power over his converts. But Paul 
argues that the Corinthians must look at his writings and his works 



161 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

through the divine perspective. Paul declares if he is an egomaniac, 
greedy for personal exaltation, God will judge. Only God can know 
that perfectly, and God will reveal it at the judgment; but Paul charges 
the Corinthians that they can judge whether he is outwardly following 
sensible behavior toward them or not. They can make this judgment if 
they will evaluate Paul's actions in light of the divine perspective. If 
they will only measure Paul's actions according to the revealed Word 
of God, they will conclude that he is acting sensibly and not as an 
egomaniac. 

Paul continues to prove that his perspective is antithetical to that 
of the "lovers of position." He says that his motives are controlled by 
the love of Christ. He has died to self by accepting the death of Christ 
as his own death. The fact of the substitutionary death of Christ has 
flooded Paul's soul with love and "constrained" him to live no longer 
for himself, but for Christ. The Greek word sunechei is a compound 
of sun and echo and means literally, "to press together." It is the 
same word used in Luke 12:49 to describe the "pressure" or "con- 
straint" propelling Jesus to the cross! The love of Christ should 
pressure, control, impel and motivate the christian. The love of Christ 
drives and guides by setting the limits to what we should and should 
not do. 

And why did the love of Christ control Paul? Because Paul was 
convinced that Christ had died for him (and for all men). The word 
convinced comes from the Greek word krinantas and is a word mean- 
ing "legal conviction." It shows that Paul's conviction was based on 
evidence and not just emotion. It was the evidence that produced the 
emotion and not vice versa! The evidence that Christ's death was a 
vicarious, substitutionary atonement is the bodily resurrection of 
Christ. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the 
supernatural stamp of authentication on the doctrine of Christ's 
atonement. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ as a 
vicarious atonement for anyone's sins is unvalidated. It is the atoning 
death of Christ for sinful man that sheds God's love abroad in man's 
heart (see Rom. 5:1-11). 

Now the critical issue in this text is: What does the atonement 
mean to an individual, personally, existentially, subjectively? It means 
that when Christ died, the believer died! If I accept Christ's death in 
my place, I have actually accepted my death! In other words, I agree 



162 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

with God that my sins put me there on the cross "in" Christ. "All" 
died, therefore "I" died when Christ died. "I" no longer live; "I" 
have no right to myself, to control myself, to live for myself any 
longer. "I" have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer "live" 
(see Gal. 2:20). Having accepted, by faith, the grace of God in the 
substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, we are also privileged to accept 
by faith, the gracious life of Christ as a substitute for the old sinful life 
of self. "He died for all, that those who live might live no longer for 
themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." We 
live that life of Christ vicariously in our lives by faith (Gal. 2:20). 

II Corinthians chapter 5 is one of the greatest treatises on the ex- 
periental impact of the atonement in all the Bible! It is paralleled by 
such great passages as Romans, chapter 6; Colossians 2:20 — 3:17; 
Ephesians, chapter 2; and Hebrews, chapters 2 and 10. (The reader is 
directed to Learning From Jesus, by Seth Wilson pages 495-503, pub. 
College Press, for significant studies on this passage). 

In the midst of unmitigated vanity by those who take pride in 
human position and other vagaries of life apart from faith in Christ, a 
personal, existential absorption of the fact of Jesus' vicarious death is 
absolutely crucial to a divine perspective. Paul had accepted Christ's 
death on his behalf. He had accepted Christ's life as his own life. Now 
he wants the Corinthians to judge his actions toward them from this 
perspective. Paul insists that as christians the Corinthians have no 
right to any other perspective. 



SECTION 3 

Fallibility of the Human Spirit (5:16-21) 

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human 
point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a 
human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. "Therefore, 
if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed 
away, behold, the new has come. I8 A11 this is from God, who 
through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry 
of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the 
world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are am- 
bassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We 
beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our 
sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we 
might become the righteousness of God. 

5:16-17 Egocentric: The main problem with the human perspective 
is its egocentricity. It is selfish! It centers and focuses and devotes 
itself to self. In the Bible this is called "the things of the flesh" (see 
Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 8:5-11; 13:14; I Cor. 1:29; 5:5; Gal. 5:16-17; 
6:13; Eph. 2:3; Phil. 3:3-11; Col. 2:23; 3:5ff; I Pet. 4:1-5). Paul wrote 
to the Romans, ". . .the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to 
God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot; and those who 
are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:7). Now Paul did not 
mean there that simply living in a fleshly body makes a person inex- 
orably hostile to God. Jesus lived in a fleshly body. Paul is talking 
about a worldly-mindedness, an attitude that makes the flesh and the 
world its priority. The "human point of view" in the Greek text is, 
oidamen katasarka, literally, "know according to flesh." Jesus called 
the "fleshly viewpoint" idolatry — serving Mammon — in Matthew 
6:24-34. 

There are essentially only two viewpoints for man — human or 
divine. Man either sees everything from the limited, fallible, perspec- 
tive of human wisdom, or from the infallible, revealed perspective of 
God in the Bible. The perspective of the unbeliever is limited to this 
world, by the limitations of this existence. He sees nothing beyond this 
existence. Everything is relative to this earthly experience. That is why 
human perspective alone leads to degradation, depravity and despair. 
Every human experience is evaluated and acted upon from an animal- 
fleshly-materialistic perspective (see Rom. 1:18-32). But as for the 
believer, Paul says, from the very moment he accepts by faith the 
atoning death of Christ, he gives up his right to think or evaluate or 
act by himself or for himself. He no longer views anything from the 
limitations of flesh or matter. He sets his mind on the things of the 
Spirit (Rom. 8:5ff). He surrenders his thinking and evaluating and ac- 
ting to the mind and behavior of Christ revealed in the Bible. The Bi- 
ble takes over his mind and his life. Every aspect of life — home, job, 
education, entertainment, finances, hobbies, sexuality, emotions — 



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THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

everything, is brought into conformity to the precepts and principles 
of the Holy Spirit revealed in the Scriptures. The christian surrenders 
all right to say, "It's my life, and I'll think the way I please and live 
the way I want." 

Non-christians view Christ from a human point of view. They 
think of him as being no more than merely another human being, hav- 
ing no authority to exercise over anyone else. Non-believers reject the 
idea that Christ was God in the flesh. They refuse to accept his death 
as an atonement for their sin. They may grant that he was a wonder- 
ful, wise, compassionate religious teacher, but they will not accede 
Christ any right to do their thinking for them. They reserve the right 
to disagree with any viewpoint Christ might dictate in his teachings or 
those of his apostles. But, Paul says, once a person becomes a chris- 
tian he views Christ no longer from a human point of view. The chris- 
tian never claims the right to disagree with any New Testament view- 
point. 

Thus, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (or creation). 
Paul is not dealing with the possibility of the new creature here as 
much as he is dealing with the fact. He is saying, "It is a matter of fact 
that those who are in Christ are new creatures with a totally new 
perspective!" This is the way it must be for a christian! The old, 
human perspective, has passed away; behold, the new, divine perspec- 
tive, has come and is continuing to come (Greek gegonen, perfect 
tense verb, "has come with a continuing action"). The new creation 
with the new, divine perspective, is a continual, growing, ever- 
expanding experience. It is the experience of being changed into the 
likeness of Christ from one degree of glory to another (II Cor. 3:18) 
by "beholding the glory of the Lord." 

This transformation of the mind of man so that he might have the 
divine perspective was the purpose of the Law of God revealed 
through Moses. It was the very core of the writings of the O.T pro- 
phets. All the great theophanies (throne visions) in Isaiah 6:1-13; 
Ezekiel 1 : 1-28; Daniel 7: 1-28 and Zechariah's visions were specifically 
given to insist that their Jewish listeners see all their circumstances 
from the perspective of the throne of God (the divine view of history). 
And the highly symbolic book of Revelation in the N.T. urges from 
the very first (the vision of the victorious, reigning Christ ch. 1, coupl- 
ed with the vision of the Throne of God and the Lamb ch. 4-5) that the 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

churches of Asia Minor must view their "great tribulation" from the 
divine perspective. History, even the terrifying, destructive, depraved 
aspects of history, is all under the sovereign control of God and the 
Lamb. It is imperative that the saints of God have this perspective. 
Without it they cannot possibly remain faithful! 

5:18-21 Estranged: The reason the human perspective is egocentric 
is that the human being is estranged from God. Man, the rebel-sinner, 
has chosen to exclude God from his life. He is at "enmity" (war) 
against God (see James 4:1-4). The desires of the flesh are against the 
Spirit — these are opposed to each other (Gal. 5:16-17). The mind of 
the flesh is "hostile" toward God (Rom. 8:7). Man, not reconciled to 
God, is against God! There is no neutral-zone. There are not three 
categories: for God, against God, and neutral. We are either for 
Christ or against him — gathering with him or scattering (Matt. 
12:30). 

So, Paul says, the only possible way any human being can acquire 
the divine perspective is through the redemptive work of God in Christ 
which reconciles man and God to one another. Reconciliation is pure- 
ly and simply by the grace of God. God took the initiative; God ac- 
complished the redemption by giving his perfect Son as the ransom. It 
is all from God. ! 

To attempt to discuss the concept of reconciliation in these notes 
would require such a lengthy digression contact with the exegetical 
flow of the text would be lost. The reader is therefore referred to the 
Special Studies at the end of this chapter for thorough treatment of 
the subjects of Propitiation, Justification, Redemption, Reconcilia- 
tion, Faith, and Obedience. Treatment of all these subjects is 
necessary to understanding the concept of Reconciliation. Suffice it to 
say here that when man declared war on God, the Divine Father, in 
keeping with his very nature, had to declare war on man. God could 
not love man for his good without acting hostile toward that which 
would destroy man! So God "withdraws" himself from man. This is 
taught consistently throughout the Bible (Hosea 5:15; Isa. 64:7-9; Psa. 
51:11; Rom. 5:10-11). The very word "propitiation" assumes there is 
Someone who has to be "appeased." The wrath of God is revealed in 
the very forces of nature (Rom. l:18ff). The absoluteness of God's 
justice must be satisfied. Until all this is accomplished, there could be 
no "reconciliation" between God and man. God's absolute justice 



166 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

must be satisfied and his wrath appeased, and man must be wooed 
back to humble surrender and faith toward God. 

This is precisely what God did through Jesus Christ. God sent his 
Son to earth incarnated as a man (John 1:1-18; Heb. 2:5-18; 10:1-25; 
Phil. 2:1-11). Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. He pleased God in 
everything he thought, said and did. He kept the commandments of 
God, the Law of God completely. And then, the Son willingly laid 
down his life (John 10:14-18) as a ransom for sinful mankind. He 
became the curse of God in our place (Gal. 3:10-14; I Pet. 2:21-25). 
God punished Christ for all the sins of all the ages and thus God's 
wrath was appeased and man was justified all in the same redemptive 
work (see Rom. 3:21-26). The Absolute God was reconciled to man 
through the absolute atonement of Christ, and man is wooed back to 
God through the divine demonstration of love at the cross and the 
empty tomb. God does "not count" men's trespasses against them if 
they accept God's work of redemption and reconcile themselves to 
him by faith and obedience to his Son. 

Quickly Paul shifts from the subject of personal salvation and 
reconciliation to the ministry of reconciliation. Every christian is 
obligated by the grace of God's reconciliation given to him, to pro- 
claim the good news of God's offer of reconciliation to the whole 
world. Paul used the Greek word themenos, an aorist participle of 
tithemi, and it is translated, "committed." The Greek word means, 
"assigned." God has assigned to all christians the work of ministering 
the rationale (Gr. logon, word, logic) of reconciliation. No christian is 
exempt from this assignment! It is written in the "Great Commission" 
(Matt. 28:18-20). Paul considered himself a "debtor" and thus 
obligated (by his own redemption) to preach the gospel to as much of 
the world as he could humanly reach (Rom. 1:14-17). 

All christians are "ambassadors" (Gr. presbeuomen, presbyters, 
elders, legates, ambassadors) allowing God to make his "appeal" (Gr. 
parakalountos, paraclete, to call alongside) through them. The 
ministry of reconciliation is calling sinners to come to the side of God! 
Paul said the "ambassador" of reconciliation was to "beseech" (Gr. 
deometha, beg, plead, pray) people to come to the side of God for the 
sake of Christ. And the motivation in the message of that ministry is 
the vicarious atonement of Christ. Could it be that "ambassadors" of 
reconciliation are to have the same qualifications as elders (I Tim, 



167 



dl 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

3:1-7)? 

How did God "make" Christ to become sin for our sake? Most 
certainly God did not force Christ to sin\ Christ was personally 
without sin. But since Christ was free from sin he was under no obliga- 
tion to suffer the consequences of sin. That left Christ free to choose 
to become, vicariously, sin for all who were obligated by their own sin 
to suffer its consequences. He was not only free to choose to do so, he 
had the right and authority, by his perfect life, to do so if he chose. No 
human being may dare to gainsay Christ's right to assume sin 
vicariously if he chooses unless that human being himself is perfectly 
sinless! 

Through the centuries there have been unbelievers, posting in 
righteous indignation, rejecting the revelation of God that Christ suf- 
fered vicariously for man's sins. 

Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War hero of Fort Ticonderoga, a Deist and 
Unitarian, wrote in his book, Reason the Only Oracle of Man, "The 
doctrine of the Trinity is destitute of foundation, and tends manifestly 
to superstition and idolatry. There could be no justice or goodness in 
one being's suffering for another, nor is it at all compatible with reason 
to suppose that God was the contriver of such a propitiation." 

Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, former head of the World Council of 
Churches, wrote in his book, A Testament of the Faith, pg. 144: 

We hear much of the substitutionary theory of the atonement. This 
theory to me is immoral. If Jesus paid it all, or if He is the substitute for 
me, or if He is the sacrifice for all sin of the world, then why discuss 
forgiveness? The books are closed. Another has paid the debt, borne the 
. penalty. I owe nothing. I am absolved. I cannot see forgiveness as 
predicated upon the act of some one else. It is my sin. I must atone. 

Canon Vernon F. Storrs is quoted in a book by T.H. Hughes, entitled, 
The Atonement: Modern theories of the Doctrine, pg. 61: 

We are in no way bound to accept Paul's interpretation of Christ's 
death. I dismiss from my mind all ideas of substitution, or of the inno- 
cent paying the penalty of the guilty because these ideas offend my 
moral consciousness. 

However, Jesus himself said that he came to die as a ransom for man's 

168 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

sins (see Matt. 20:28; 26:28). The New Testament is filled with 
statements about the vicarious, substitutionary death of Christ (I Tim. 
2:5-6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:28; I Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Rev. 1:5; Gal. 3:13). 
The substitutionary death of the Messiah was predicted graphically 
and unmistakably in Isaiah 53:1-12 and in Zechariah 12:10-13:1. To 
reject the revelation of God is to fly in the face of a document that has 
been historically authenticated and validated by the resurrection of 
Christ from the dead. To reject the vicarious death of Christ as atone- 
ment for sin is infidelity and rebellion. It is the spirit of the antichrist. 
It cannot be made respectable by couching it in moral revulsion. To 
disavow what God has plainly stated should offend moral con- 
sciousness! 

We suspect the rationale behind disavowing the vicarious death of 
Christ is the rebellion against surrendering one's mind and life to the 
divine perspective. That is exactly why Paul emphasized the substitu- 
tionary death of Christ here; because it is absolutely crucial to the 
divine perspective. It is the one critical pre-requisite to the "new crea- 
tion." The world-perspective arrogantly insists on atoning for its own 
sins. Those who glory in the flesh intend to earn their standing before 
God with self-righteousness. Throwing oneself upon the mercy and 
grace of God will not do for the "autonomous man." He must rule 
himself. And God must be satisfied with that! There is no repentance 
in that frame of mind. That is apostasy. Reconciliation to God with 
that attitude is impossible (see Heb. 6:1-8). No man's moral con- 
sciousness has a right to be offended at any divine fiat or directive. 
God told Abraham to slay Isaac as a sacrifice — Abraham had no 
right to do anything but obey. God told Hosea to marry a woman of 
harlotry — Hosea had no right to resist on the grounds of moral con- 
sciousness. We must believe and obey God whether it seems right to us 
or to other men or not! 

So Paul closes this text by contradicting all presumptions of earned 
righteousness. God "made" (Gr. epoiesen, aorist tense, at a point in 
time past), or imputed, all sin punished vicariously in Christ who 
willingly accepted it at the crucifixion in the days of Pontius Pilate. 
Then the apostle adds God did that in order that "we" might 
"become" (Gr. genometha, aorist subjunctive) the right- 
eousness of God in him (Christ). When any person believes the 
gospel and obeys the truth (I Pet. 1:22) he is purified and becomes 



169 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

righteous. The aorist tense means our righteousness happens at a par- 
ticular point in time, and the subjunctive mood means it is something 
done upon us, to us, or for us — not by us. God imputed our sins to 
Jesus, and imputed Jesus' righteousness to us! The cross was a trans- 
action, initiated by God, worked out by God, declared by God and ac- 
cepted by God. So man has no righteousness or goodness by which he 
may boast before God (see Rom. 3:27; I Cor. 1:29-30; Eph. 2:8-9). 
God made Christ our righteousness (I Cor. 1:30). By Christ's perfect 
obedience many (believers) are made righteous (Rom. 5:19). The 
Christian's righteousness is not his own but that which depends on 
faith in Christ (Phil. 3:8-11). Righteousness is not attained by pursu- 
ing it, but by believing in Christ (Rom. 9:30). God only imputes 
righteousness, however, to those who are in Christ by believing and 
obeying Christ's commandments (I John 1:8-2:6; Rom. 6:1-23). We 
retain that imputed righteousness provided we continue in the faith, 
stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which we 
have heard (Col. 1:21-23). 

Because we have that righteousness already, we do not have to earn 
it. It is our delight to begin with it, to start acting righteous because we 
are righteous. I hope you understand this, because this is the "good 
news." It is no good news to come to a person and say, "Christ forgave 
all your sins up to now, but from now on you'd better watch it. You are 
going to have to pay for all those." No, no, that is not the gospel. The 
good news is all your sins are forgiven, all your life long, including those 
you have not even committed yet. 

God knows your struggle. He has dealt with that. He is never going 
to retract his solution; he is never going to act any different way toward 
you. Because the sin problem is settled he can come in alongside of you 
and help you learn how to act righteously on that basis. And he will — 
lifting you up, forgiving you, restoring you, strengthening you and stay- 
ing right with you until this life is finally done. 

So this is the glory of it. We learn how a God of justice can come to a 
loveless, hard-hearted, self-righteous, selfish, hurting and hurtful sinner 
like you and me and not count his trespasses against him. That is the 
way he does it because ' 'he who knew no sin was made sin for us that we 
might be made the righteousness of God in him." — Ray. C. Steadman, 

op. cit., pg. 116-117. 

Non-christians, in rebellion, unreconciled to God because their 
sins are unforgiven and they have no righteousness that will meet the 



170 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

absolute demand of God, have no perspective beyond this world and 
this life. They cannot see things as God sees them, because they are 
determined not to. But remember, Paul is writing to the christians at 
Corinth in this epistle. He is begging them that they not let their 
perspective slip from the divine to the human. Their faithfulness in a 
world of temptation and trial, and their hope for the eternal weight of 
glory beyond all comparison depends on retaining the divine perspec- 
tive. The same holds true for christians in the twentieth century — and 
especially for preachers! 



APPREHENSION: 

1. What relationship does God's subjecting the creation to futility 
have with the problem of perspective? 

2. Where does the Bible document the human cry for divine perspec- 
tive? 

3. What chapter in I Corinthians deals with the problems of divine 
perspective among the Corinthian christians? 

4. Why does Paul call our human body an "earthly tent"? 

5. What is the significance of saying we "have" a building from 
God? 

6. What does Paul mean by the word "naked"? 

7. What do christians "sigh with anxiety" about while in their earth- 
ly body? 

8. What do the scriptures say about "being at home with the Lord"? 

9. What has the judgment of Christ to do with the christian having 
divine perspective? 

10. Why did Paul have to explain that some had thought him "beside 
himself"? 

11. Why did the love of Christ control Paul? 

12. What convinced Paul that Christ's death was for all men's sins? 

13. Why must the christian never "regard anyone from a human 
point of view"? 

14. Define: Propitiation, Justification, Redemption, Reconciliation, 
Faith and Obedience (you will need to study the Special Studies to 
answer this question). 

15. What is an "ambassador" of reconciliation? 



171 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



16. How did God "make" Christ to be sin on our behalf? What if we 
have some moral reservations against another person being 
punished on our behalf? 

17. How did Christ's righteousness become ours? 



APPLICATIONS: 

1 . Do you have a problem keeping the daily news reports in divine 
perspective? 

2. How do you deal with the every-day trials and tribulations of your 
own life and those intimately associated with you? 

3 . Do you read your Bible daily for answers to your daily problems? 

4. Are there really answers in the Bible for every one of man's prob- 
lems? 

5. Do you give much thought to your own death and what comes 
afterward? 

6. Are you ever anxious about where you will be after your body is 
put in a grave? 

7. What do you anticipate about the next existence? 

8. Do you look forward eagerly to the judgment of Christ as a place 
where wrong will be righted? 

9. What is your "ambition" in life? 

10. Can you truthfully say that in every undertaking you've made in 
life (every ambition) you have sought first to please the Lord in it? 

1 1 . Is reverence (fear) of God a motive in your life? Do you think the 
Church today could use more reverence? In what way? 

12. What does the atonement of Christ mean existentially (subjective- 
ly, personally) to your viewpoint, perspective, way of living? 

13. Do you see "self" in you as having actually died on the cross with 
Christ? 

14. Have you determined, with God's gracious help, to let Christ live 
his life out to the world through you? 

15. Do you struggle with the command of Paul in this chapter that 
christians are no longer to see anyone from a human point of 
view? 

16. Where do you think the christian must turn for solution to this 
struggle? 



172 



THE PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE 

17. Does it seem fair to you that Christ must be punished for your 
sins? Do you believe he did? All of them? Foreye'r? 

18. Do you feel like God considers you a righteous person? Why? Do 
you think some of the good you have done in your life ought to be 
taken into account by God when he takes you home to be with 
him? 

19. What do you feel like saying to God in light of his punishment of 
your sins in Christ and his giving you Christ's perfect right- 
eousness as your own? 



173 



Special Study 



Propitiation 

Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; I Pet. 1:18-19; 
I John 2:2; 4:10; Rom. 3:21-26 

I. MEANING 

A. (Heb. kipper), means "to cover or wipe-out or wipe clean, to 
annul" by offering a gift 

B. [Xaaxripiov hilasterion, means, "to avert wrath." 

II. USAGE 

A. Kipper is translated "appease" in Gen. 32:20 (literally, "I 
will cover his face with a present.") 

B. Kipper is translated "atone," "expiate" in Isa. 47:11 (literal- 
ly, "thou shalt not be able to charm it away, or bribe it 
away.") 

C. Kopher is used to describe the "protection money" paid by 
the Jews to avert a plague (Exod. 30:12). 

D. Hilasterion in the LXX is translated "mercy seat" and the 
word is employed in exactly this sense in Hebrews 9:5. 

E. Hilasterion might even be thus translated in Rom. 3:25 and 
would say that God appointed Jesus to be the "mercy-seat" 
for sinners, in order that some place and means might be pro- 
vided for securing a friendly meeting with the Deity, offended 
by man's sin. 



Discussion 

THEOLOGY 

A. Understanding the nature of God is necessary to understand 
the idea of propitiation 
1. A God of holiness is of necessity a God of wrath 

a. The wrath of God is mentioned 585 times in the O.T. 
alone and although not as often in the N.T., it is 
surely there (Rom. 1:18, etc.). Ordinarily we think of 
the cross as being necessary for our sakes, but this is 
true only in a secondary sense. Certainly our salva- 
tion depends on the cross; YET IN THE FINAL 
ANALYSIS, THE CROSS IS NECESSARY NOT 



174 



PROPITIATION 

JUST BECAUSE WE ARE SINNERS, BUT 

BECAUSE GOD IS GOD! 

c. Justice or righteousness is that characteristic of God 

which requires Him to punish sin. GOD MUST BE 

TRUE TO HIMSELF OR HE IS NOT GOD. 

WHEN MAN SINS IT CONTRADICTS THE 

VERY NATURE OF GOD. GOD MUST PUNISH 

SIN . . . HIS JUSTICE DEMANDS IT. 

2. The sinner is a standing assertion that there is no God. He 

is against God, and God therefore must be against him. 

a. For God to ignore the sinner as a sinner would be an 
unacceptable compromise of His nature even though 
in His love He has no personal desire for vengeful 
malice in His motive 

b. God's love for the victim of the sinner has been called 
in question by what He, the Sovereign, has allowed 
to happen in His realm. 

c. Even though God may want to relate Himself to the 
sinner in ways of love, that relation must be 
predicated on an objective reckoning of some act of 
Justice where the record is put straight. 

B. God's love is a personal attitude which is passionately con- 
cerned about genuine relationship. 

1. When God's love to man does not elicit love in return 
there is a necessary estrangement. 

2. Eliminate the possibility of wrath and God's love is 
meaningless. 

C. Some act had to be completed that would permit God to 
maintain His holiness and justice and also to forgive the sin- 
ner, and let God be true to the other side of His nature — 
love! 

II. TRANSACTION 

A. What God did at Calvary He did actually and objectively and 
not merely in the minds of men. 

1 . God acted to appease His own wrath in an event on the 
basis of which He can actually and objectively cover 
man's sin 

2. God paid Himself off, as it were! 



175 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

3. After Calvary God could be toward man as He could not 
be toward man before 

B. A propitiation is that which satisfies the wrath — the 
righteous and judicial demand for justice — of God. 

1. That which satisfies the wrath and justice of God is the 
punishment of sins. 

2. The Bible describes the death of Christ as a propitiation 
(Rom. 3:25), which means that in His death Jesus 
satisfied the wrath and justice of God by bearing the 
penalty for sin. 

3. The divine necessity is not just to forgive, but to forgive 
in a way which shows that God is irreconcilable to evil, 
and can never treat it as other or less than it is. 

4. Sin makes a real difference to God, and even in forgiving 
God treats that difference as real, and cannot do other- 
wise. He cannot ignore it, or regard it as other or less 
than it is. If he did so, He would not be more gracious 
than He is in the atonement; He would cease to be God. 

5. Men have been able to appreciate and accept the thought 
of a benevolent God, BUT NOT THE THOUGHT OF A 
COMPLETELY HONEST GOD! 

C. But God must remain honest to His own nature or we have a 
God no better than all the pagan gods and religions of all the 
ages 

1 . God does what the supreme Judge must do. He refuses to 
waive the demands of the law. Rather than that, in love 
He Himself meets the law's demand through the pro- 
pitiating death of Jesus Christ. 

2. Thus instead of making void His law (His word) (His 
nature), He establishes it (fulfills it) (Rom. 3:31). 

3. Jesus' death has a penal aspect to it. He became the ob- 
ject of retributive justice and hence bore our punishment. 

D. There are those who refuse to accept this idea: 

1. Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, in his book, A Testament of 
the Faith, (p. 144) "We hear much of the substitutionary 
theory of the atonement. This theory to me is immoral. If 
Jesus paid it all, or if He is the substitute for me, or if He 
is the sacrifice for all sin of the world, then why discuss 



176 



PROPITIATION 

forgiveness? The books are closed. Another has paid the 
debt, borne the penalty. I owe nothing. I am absolved. I 
cannot see forgiveness as predicated upon the act of some 
one else. It is my sin. I must atone." 
III. TRANSFER 

A. But if the N.T. is true, and it is, and if words have any literal 
meaning, and they do, then God transferred my sin to Jesus 
Christ and He is the propitiation for my sin and the sin of all 
the world. 

1. According to the N.T. Jesus Christ in love identified 
, himself with us and we in faith identify ourselves with 

him 

2. God treated the sinless Christ as if He were guilty, and in- 
flicted upon Him the punishment which our sins de- 
served; AND THIS INFLICTION MADE IT POSSIBLE 
TO TREAT THE SINFUL AS IF THEY WERE AC- 
TUALLY RIGHTEOUS (II Cor. 5:21, etc.) 

B. When Christ satisfied the wrath of God, He satisfied it in our 
place, as our substitute 

1. He was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) 

2. He bore the full force of the wrath of God against sin. In 
thus allowing the penalty of sin to be inflicted on himself, 
Christ satisfied God's justice and became the appease- 
ment for our sins. 

C. Because the cross is what it is, God can forgive our sins and 
justify us and be just at the same time. 

1. If Christ suffered the penalty for our sins, then our sins 
have already been punished in Him. 

2. The fiery wrath of God due to us has already burned 
itself out on Him 

3. When God says to us, "Your sins are taken away," He is 
. not simply BRUSHING THEM ASIDE. 

4. Quite the contrary, every sin which is forgiven in us has 
already been punished in Christ. 

Conclusion 

I. JUSTIFICATION IS FREE TO US 



177 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

A. It is not something that we have earned or deserved 

1. God's love, not our works, solved the problem which 
justice raised 

2. The righteousness which justifies us is no more our own 
than the sins which Christ took were His own. 

3. This righteousness is something God in the flesh earned 
and gave to us as a gift 

B. We can serve God with peace and joy, knowing that our 
salvation does not depend on our ability to perform a certain 
number or quality of good works. 

1 . Our Christian service is not an effort to earn something 
we do not have, but rather an expression of thanks for 
something we have been given. 
II. JUSTIFICATION COST GOD 

A. His only unique Son. Forgiveness of sins is no casual thing! 

B. Forgiveness of sin is not merely a matter of a few spoken 
words on our part, and the snap of a finger on God's part 

1. Our sins are washed away, not by the tears of a soft- 
hearted, sentimental God, but by the blood of the Son of 
a Just and Righteous God. 

2. All sins for which we ask forgiveness have been fully 
punished in Christ. Only because they have already been 
punished in Christ can they be forgiven in us. Christ has 
borne in His body and soul all of the agony and all the 
anger of God that are due to those sins for which we so 
casually ask pardon. 



178 



Special Study 
Justification 

Rom. 3:21-26; I John 1:5-10; Rom. 5:1-21; Heb. 10:4-14 



Introduction 

I. MEANING 

A. Heb. tsadaq; Gr. Sfocaiouv dikaioon; "to pronounce, accept and 
treat as just; to treat as not legally liable; to treat as if inno- 
cent; therefore entitled to all the privileges due to those who 
have kept the law." 

B. To justify means to set right, or to put on a right footing by 
declaring a verdict of acquittal. 

C. Literally it means "to get the verdict." It is a legal term. 

D. Defined as "that judicial act of God, by which, on the basis 
of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to the sinner and 
received by him through faith, God declares the sinner ab- 
solved from his sin, released from its penalty, and restored as 
righteous." 

II. JUSTIFICATION IS THE CENTRAL FACT OF BIBLICAL 
RELIGION 

A. Justification determines the whole character of Christianity 
as a religion of grace and faith. 

B. It defines the saving significance of Christ's life and death, by 
relating both to God's law. 

C. It displays God's justice in condemning and punishing sin; 
His mercy in pardoning and accepting sinners, and His 
wisdom in exercising both attributes harmoniously, in Christ. 

D. It makes clear what faith is — trust in Christ's atoning death 
and justifying resurrection for the sinner's righteousness 

E. It makes clear what Christian morality is — law-keeping 
out of gratitudes to the Saviour whose gift of 
righteousness made lawkeeping needless for acceptance ,. 

F. It explains all types, prophecies and instances of salvation 
in the O.T. 

Discussion 
I. ARRAIGNED 



179 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

A. The entire O.T. and N.T. teach emphatically that man is a 
guilty criminal who must be hailed into the court of the Judge 
of all the Earth. 

1. The O.T. teaches that a day of judgment was to come in 
which God would condemn and punish all who had 
broken his laws 

2. That day would terminate the present world-order and 
usher in a golden age for those whom God judged wor- 
thy. 

3. The N.T. confirms that God will judge the world in 
righteousness in the day of wrath and revelation of the 
righteous judgement of God (Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16) 

4. Man is guilty; the whole creation testifies against him; his 
own conscience — the revelation of God — his fellow 
man — nature itself — and last but not least, the great 
adversary, the devil accuses man. 

B. Man has been arraigned; judgment is certain 

1. The principle of judgment will be EXACT RETRIBU- 
TION — he will get what he deserves — what he has 
earned 

2. The standard of judgment will be GOD'S LAW 

3. The evidence will be THE SECRETS OF MEN 

4. The Judge is the omniscient, omnipotent, searcher of 
hearts 

5. Only those who can hope to escape are those who have 
kept His law in all its parts 

6. But there are none — all are guilty! 
II. ACQUITTED 

A. The good news from heaven's judgment hall is that the guilty 
have been justified, pronounced "not guilty." 

1. There has been a reversal of God's attitude toward the 
guilty 

2. What is involved? 

B. Remission of punishment 

1. The believer is declared to be free of the demands of the 
law because those demands have been satisfied in Christ's 
death (Rom. 4:5) 

2. Christ paid the penalty Himself and the believing sinner is 



180 



JUSTIFICATION 

no longer held accountable (Rom. 6:7) 
3. BUT IT IS MORE THAN MERE PARDON. IT IS A 
DECLARATION THAT THE GUILTY IN FACT, 
ARE NO LONGER GUILTY . . . THE VERY FACT 
OF HIS GUILT IS REMOVED ... HE IS INNOCENT 
OF WHAT HE WAS ONCE GUILTY 
IT IS AS IF HE HAD NEVER SINNED! 
HE IS WASHED CLEAN ... HE IS A NEW CREA- 
TION! 

C. Restoration to favor 

1. God treats the sinner as if he had never sinned since the 
sinner is now regarded as being personally righteous in 
Christ (Gal. 3:6) 

2. There is not only- acquittal, but approval; not only par- 
don but promotion 

D. Imputed righteousness of God 

1. Granted to the believer through Christ's presence in him 

2. The believers covenant relationship to Christ imparts the 
quality and character of Christ's righteousness to him 

3. Christ is the Justifier through whom a new life is inau- 
gurated in the believer (I Cor. 1:30). 

4. Man can never be saved apart from participating in the 
person of Christ because only as we accept His will and 
His nature and His death in our place can He serve as our 
justification and as our righteousness. 

III. ACCLAIMED 

A. Justified and declared Righteous, we are Adopted as Sons 

1 . "and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs 
with Christ," 

2. and . . . "the sufferings of this present time are not 
worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to 
us." 

3. ". . . those whom he justified he also glorified . . . what 
then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against 
us? . . . Who shall bring any charge against God's 
elect? ..." etc. 

B. But remember this, we are justified by God and we are per- 
mitted to accept it by believing it 



181 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

1. We are not justified on any merit of our own 

2. The N.T. is very emphatic on this point (Rom. 3:28; 
4:1-5; Gal. 3:6ff) 

3. The book of James states that men are justified by works 
but what James is saying is that when a man's actions 
show that he has a living, working faith, it shows the man 
has been justified. 

4. James is talking about a man proving or demonstrating 
his faith by his life . . . but all the demonstrating in the 
world will not obtain our justification. 

THE DEMONSTRATION OF FAITH (WORKS) IS 
MERELY THE EXPRESSION OF OUR 
THANKFULNESS FOR WHAT GOD HAS 
ALREADY DONE ... WE NEED ONLY BELIEVE IT 
AND OBEY IT TO HAVE IT APPLY TO US! 
A PARDON IS NOT A PARDON UNLESS IT IS AC- 
CEPTED. 



182 



Special Study 
Redemption 

Rom. 3:21-26; Titus 2:11-14; Gal. 3:13; 
I Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:8-15; Heb. 2:1-18 



Introduction 

I. MEANING 

A. Heb. padah; Heb. ga'al; meaning literally "to break or tear 
away. ' ' 

Gr. ayop&fa agorazo; meaning "purchase or buy" and 
Xo-cpoufxou; meaning "ransom or deliver." 

B. Redemption is a word closely allied to the word salvation but 
redemption is more specific, denoting the means by which 
salvation is achieved — namely by the payment of a ransom. 

C. Heb. goel'; "one who asserts a claim or one who vindicates for 
another. " A favorite term of Isaiah who speaks of Jehovah as 
the Goel of Israel. 

II. USAGE 

A. Connected to re-purchase of property (Lev. 25:26; Ruth 
4:4ff; Psa. 74:2; Deut. 9:26; II Sam. 7:23; I Chron. 17:21, 
etc.) 

B. Connected to release of slaves (Exod. 21:7-8; Lev. 25:47-55; 
etc.) 

C. Connected to "redeeming" firstborn sons (Exod. 34:20) 

D. Connected with God's great acts of delivering national Israel 
from Egypt (exodus) and from Babylon (restoration). 



Discussion 

PRODUCT/PROPERTY — Man 

A. Polluted by sin f 

1. Sin is more than weakness/mistake; it is REBELLION, 
INSURRECTION 

Man is an enemey of his Creator; man mocks his 
Benefactor; man is a spiritual whoremonger (willfully 
commiting spiritual adultery). Man is a rotten renegade. 



183 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Rom. 1:18-32 

2. Inhuman — sin drives man to be worse than an animal, 
sensual, selfish, sadistic 

3. Insane — sin robs man of a right mind (I Cor. 15:34) 

B, Prisoner of Satan 

1 . Deceived — the Evil one has captured the minds and wills 
of men by lies. 

2. Defeated — the Evil one has imprisoned and enslaved 
man. Whomever we yield to becomes our master (Rom. 
6:12-19). So long as we are willing to believe a lie we will 
yield to it and we cannot break the chains of enslavement 
ourselves for we are incapable of arriving at truth/reality 
without God revealing it to us. 

3. Dead — the Evil one has alienated us from God, we are 
strangers, separated from His kingdom, DEAD, as far as 
God is concerned. 

4. Ideas and thoughts master/control us. Ideas come from 
persons. The devil and God both think and we are con- 
trolled by one or the other. 

C. Precious in the Sight of God 

1 . No matter how polluted, still Man is God's precious pro- 
perty. God made man, He made him in His own likeness 
(Double emphasis in Hebrew — Hebrew word in Genesis 
is tzelem and is the same word used for idol and images 
exactly like him, Dan. 2:31,35.) and breathed into man a 
part of Himself. Man is God's child, God's son. 

2. Man is precious to God (Isa. 43:4; Lam. 4:2) 

3. Man is God's great concern (Isa. 49:14-16) 

4. This universe was created for man — Man is the apex of 
all God's creative genius 

II. PRICE 

A. What price is sufficient to "buy" or "redeem" the property? 

1 . It must be commensurate with the worth of the property 

2. It must be able to satisfy the demands of its indebtedness 

3. It must be sufficient to restore the property to the 
demanded usefulness of the owner 

4. Is there anything in all the world that will meet the above 
price-tag? (Micah 6:6-8; Mark 8:34-38) 



184 



REDEMPTION 

5. There is NO thing or group of things in all the world that 
will be an acceptable redeeming payment for lost 
mankind (cf. Psa. 49:5-15). Not even another human be- 
ing can redeem another for all are lost! 

6. The guilt of one individual's sin against another cannot 
be morally transferred to a third party. All forgiveness, 
human and divine, is in the very nature of the case 
substitutional or vicarious. No one ever really forgives 
another, except he bears the penalty of the other's sin 
against him. When we pray "Father, forgive us our debts 
as we forgive our debtors," we are not asking God to 
forgive us by a vicarious sacrifice while we forgive each 
other by merely overlooking faults which cost us nothing. 
And when we say. Christ died as our Substitute, we do not 
mean that He was a third party . . . because 

7. The guilt of one individual's sin against another can 
morally be borne either by themsinner, or by the one 
sinned against. 

8. Christ was not a third party at Calvary . . . HE WAS 
THE GOD SINNED AGAINST. 

9. All those illustrations of a third party taking another's 
place and bearing another's punishment are logically and 
Biblically erroneous. 

Perfection — God had need to come from heaven to conquer 
the devil and to free man. Man would have been forever 
enslaved to self had God done it otherwise. 

1 . Man must conquer the devil. Man must conquer sin. Man 
must fulfill the holiness of the law of God. Man must live 
in perfect obedience and harmony with the will of God. 

2. Man, imprisoned by the devil and rebelling against his 
Creator was hopelessly unable to meet the price of perfec- 
tion to God's Law. 

3. In His unsearchable wisdom He decided to step into the 
stream of human history and work out a plan which 
would bridge the gap between Him and His fallen 
children. HE DECIDED TO KEEP HIS OWN 
LAW ... IN THE PLACE OF HELPLESS MEN! 
(Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:6-8) 



185 



k 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

4. God took upon Himself the nature of His children in 
order to meet the devil on the battlefield of the flesh and 
conquered sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:1-8). 

5. God obedient to the Law which He Himself had given! 
He who was above the Law willingly put Himself beneath 
it as the divine Substitute for those who, because of their 
spiritual bondage, were unable to do it for themselves. 

6. Just as Adam was my representative and I sinned in 
Adam, so the Son of Man is my representative and I may 
be counted righteous if I am in Him by faith. (Rom. 
5:12-21; II Cor. 5:14-21) 

7. Jesus Christ, God-Man, was willing and able to pay the 
price of perfection for me — perfect faith, perfect obe- 
dience, perfect motives, perfect service, perfect sur- 
render to God, perfect love, perfect justice. 

I NO LONGER NEED TO FEEL GUILT, FRUSTRA- 
TION AND ANXIETY OR FEAR ... I HAVE BEEN 
REDEEMED BY HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ... I AM 
FREE TO REACH THE HIGHEST GOAL OF 
GODLINESS I AM CAPABLE OF BY FAITH AND 
TRUST IN HIM WHO TAKES CARE OF ALL 
SHORTCOMINGS I MAY HAVE. 
C. Punishment — Demanded by the very moral nature of God 
and man 

1 . Without a penalty there is no law, without law there is no 
morality 

2. When law or justice is violated the penalty must be paid 

3. This principle is true even in human institutions. The 
demands of justice must be met and the majesty of the 
law sustained or otherwise the bonds of the association 
will be destroyed and anarchy will prevail. 

4. God, in order to establish and vindicate His sovereignty 
and His trusthworthiness must execute the penalty of His 
law when it is violated. 

5. In His unsearchable mercy He decided to step into the 
stream of human history and PAY THE PENALTY OF 
HIS OWN LAW HIMSELF! No third party could 
forgive man. Man's sin — all of it — ultimately is against 



186 



REDEMPTION 

God. Only God could forgive man. God had to pay the 
price Himself if it was to be paid at all. 

6. This is how God was both JUST and the JUSTIFIER OF 
HIM WHO BELIEVES (Rom. 3:21-26). God became 
man and willingly gave Himself to suffer the penalty for 
sin — death (WHAT THEN HAVE WE TO BOAST OF 
IN ANY THING WE MAY DO OR BE???) 

7. Some scriptures: 

God made Him (Christ) to be sin on our behalf (II Cor. 

5:21) 

Christ died for our sins (I Cor. 15:3) 

By Him we received te atonement (Rom. 5:10-11) 

He bore our sins in His own body (I Pet. 2:24) 

He redeemed us from the law becoming a curse for us 

(Gal. 3:13) 

He tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9ff) 

III. PAYMENT 
A. Anticipated 

1 . Throughout the centuries of the O .T. the believers looked 
forward to an act of deliverance which would forever free 
them from the guilt, the power and the punishment of 
sin. 

a. They looked forward to a heaven-sent Deliverer 

b. They looked forward to a great act of atonement 
2. Where did they get this anticipation? 

a. Revealed through God's spokesmen, Patriarchs, 
Prophets 

b. Revealed through God's Law 

3. O.T. believers made payment for their sin by symbolical- 
ly transferring their guilt to an animal, and then sacrific- 
ing that animal as a symbolic atonement for their trans- 
gressions ... in symbol the sinner transferred his guilt to 
the innocent, and the innocent died in the place of the 
guilty. 

4. How could the death of an animal make good for the sins 
of a human being? IT COULDN'T! High on the great 
divide which still lay centuries in the future stood that 



187 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Great Sacrifice which alone could give meaning and value 
to all the rivers of blood which were shed in Jewish 
temples. 

5. The death of Christ was the real thing ... the death of 
the animal had atoning value for the O.T. believer only 
because he had put his faith in the promised One and the 
promised Act of God who was to make final payment for 
all his sins. 

6. A 10 dollar bill has value, not because of the worth of the 
paper it is printed on, but because of secure collateral 
which may lie 1000's of miles away ... so the death of 
the animal in the O.T. had value only because of the col- 
lateral which was 1000's of years away. 

B. Arranged 

1 . The Son of God left the glory of Paradise to give Himself 
in payment and to cancel our debt 

2. He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being 
born in the likeness of men . . . and became obedient un- 
to death, even death on a cross, Phil. 2:5-11. 

3. He came not to be ministered unto but to minister and 
give His life a ransom for many, Matt. 20:28. 

4. No one took His life, He laid it down (John 10:17-18). 

5. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). 

6. The Great Arrangement is documented in Hebrews 
10:5-18. Animal sacrifices did not pay the debt — a body 
was prepared for the Son of God (according to the O.T. 
scriptures, i.e., "the roll of the book") — then The Son 
said, Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God. 

AND BY THAT WILL WE HAVE BEEN SANC- 
TIFIED THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY 
OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL! 
FOR BY A SINGLE OFFERING HE HAS 
PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME THOSE WHO ARE 
SANCTIFIED 

WHERE THERE IS FORGIVENESS OF THESE, 
THERE IS NO LONGER ANY OFFERING FOR SIN. 
PAID IN FULL! 



188 



REDEMPTION 

C. Accepted 

1 . All of this theology about a substitutionary, redeeming 
death is vain without validation 

2. It may sound great for a man 2000 years ago to walk up 
and down Palestine and say I will die for you and pay 
your debt to God BUT DOES GOD AGREE? 

3 . This was answered for all men and for all time on the first 
Easter morning. Christ not only died for the sin of men; 
HE ROSE AGAIN! If Christ had remained in the grave, 
all talk of His having paid the debt of human sin would 
be idle and vain ... we would still be in our sins (I Cor. 
15:17-18). 

4. The resurrection of Christ not only demonstrates He is 
the Son of God, IT ALSO DEMONSTRATES THAT 
GOD IN HEAVEN HAS ACCEPTED THE 
SACRIFICE OF HIS SON FOR THE SINS OF ALL 
THE WORLD. 

5. The Easter miracle is Heaven's RECEIPT, presented to 
all men of all ages, saying: Payment Received — Paid in 
Full! (II Cor. 1:20). 

6. God says in effect, "I have accepted the ransom which 
My Son has brought in payment for your sin. His resur- 
rection is the stamp and seal of My divine approval. His 
resurrection is not only His vindication — but yours also. 
For, because of His payment which I have now accepted 
in your stead, you are free!" 

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, 
not imputing (charging) their trespasses unto them, (II 
Cor. 5:19). 

7. Christ has, as it were, picked up all the moral I.O.U.'s of 
the human race, all of the accumulated moral debts of 
every member of the human family which were owed to 
God and has "blotted them out" AND GOD HAS 
VALIDATED FOREVER THE PAYMENT AND HAS 
MADE IT PUBLIC FOR AS LONG AS TIME SHALL 
LAST BY DOING SO IN THE GREATEST 
HISTORICAL EVENT OF ALL TIME . . . THE 
RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. 



189 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Conclusion 

I. We may be redeemed by taking citizenship in His spiritual 
Kingdom. 

II. We then experience the redemption and renewal of every facet of 
our life. 



190 



Special Study 
The Work Of reconciliation 

Text: Eph. 2:11-22 
(See Also II Cor. 5:11-21) 



Introduction 

What does the word reconciled or reconciliation mean? Webster's 
Collegiate Diet, says the English word is from French and Latin mean- 
ing: "To cause to be friendly again; to bring back to harmony." 

"Reconciliation" — in our English Bibles is a translation of the 
Greek words katallasso, katallage, or diallassomai — all of which 
literally mean "to exchange, or to change over." 

There are two Hebrew words, kaphar and racah, translated in the 
KJV sometimes by the English word reconciliation, but usually should 
be translated atonement, (see I Sam. 29:4; II Chron. 29:24; Ezek. 
45:15; Dan. 9:24, etc.). 

Most of those of us who have to watch closely how we spend our 
money do something every month which should illustrate our word. 
We take the statement we get from our bank and compare it with what 
our check stubs say, and hope the two are reconciled — that is, in har- 
mony with one another. That is what it is called — reconciling your 
bank statement. What it really means is surrendering your estimate of 
your account to the bank's statement — bank's make no mistakes! We 
had one little girl at college one year who never had learned that you 
had to reconcile your check book with the bank's statement. She 
thought you could go on writing checks as long as you had blank 
checks in your book — until one "bounced"! 

When a printer reconciles a margin, he brings the printed type into 
harmony with a pre-established margin-line so everything is even and 
squared. That is what reconciliation means. So if you've been recon- 
ciled to God you've been made square with God. God makes us 
"come out even" when he reconciles us. 

Reconciliation to God — being in harmony with our Creator, our 
Father, our Judge — is the feeling we really want! Everyone is talking 
and writing and singing about spiritual, religious feeling and what it 
all boils down to is the need to feel reconciled to God. 

THE FEELING MUST BE PRECEDED BY FAITH AND 



191 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

FAITH MUST BE PRECEDED BY FACTS — FACTS ABOUT 
GOD AND CHRIST AND THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION — 
AND THOSE FACTS ARE FOUND NOWHERE BUT THE BIBLE! 

"Peaches and Herb" sang, in the 70's, "Reunited, and it feels so 
good." That is what reconciliation is all about. 



Discussion 

Man's reconciliation to God is impossible without the work of 
Christ. Therefore, when we speak of the work of reconciliation we are 
talking about the work of God (in Christ) exclusively. 
I. ESTRANGED (Part of God's work of reconciliation is estrange- 
ment) 

A. God is a person, not an idea — he is a personal entity apart 
from our thinking and imagining. 

1. God, as a person, is the ultimate lover — He loves, He is 
love. But the love, real love, true love, of a person is more 
than emotion. 

2. Love is character — character made of likes and dislikes 
(even hate), of attractions and repulsions, according to 
the person's attraction or sympathy for, or the aversion 
to, the character and conduct of those with whom it 
comes in contact. 

3. God is a person, not a force. He loves and hates, like and 
dislikes. He can, and does, discriminate between the 
righteous and the wicked. 

B. God's love is capable of being turned to hostility 

1. If that were not true, HOW COULD GOD LOVE US 
FOR OUR GOOD WITHOUT SHOWING HIS 
HOSTILITY TO WHAT WOULD DO US HARM? 

2. When divine love is forced back, refused, scoffed at and 
mocked by our rebellion so that it cannot flow forth to 
bless as it wishes, it chafes against the rebellion out of 
sheer love. 

3 . Divine love, real love, is goodness in earnestness trying to 
make others good. And when it cannot have its way, it is 
grieved. When it is deliberately and maliciously thwarted, 



192 



THE WORK OF RECONCILIATOIN 

it is angry! Mark 3:5 

C. We have estranged ourselves from God! 

1. We are impudent, thankless, petulant children; we are a 
faithless bride of God. 

We have said: "I will have my own way; I want my 
Heavenly Father's indulgence, but I do not want his 
way!" "I DO NOT WANT TESTS AND TRIALS AND 
THE CROSS (death to self)." 

2. Our own selfishness has created a barrier, a wall of 
hostility, between us and our God. 

3. We have declared ourselves enemies of God and His only 
response or the only course left for Him is to be our 
enemy. God loves every man with self-giving love, but he 
loves his own sovereignty and his own faithfulness more. 
GOD MUST KEEP HIS WORD: HE MUST VIN- 
DICATE HIS FAITHFULNESS: WITHOUT THAT 
HE CANNOT TRULY LOVE ANYONE! 

D. Man has rebelled and there is hostility: 

1. Man's selfish hostility — God's hostility of love. 

2. Does that sound like an impossibility? HOSTILITY OF 
LOVE!? 

Read again the record of David and Absalom. Absalom's was 
the hostility of selfishness, rebellion and hatred for his father; 
David's was the hostility of selflessness and love, longing 
deeply for reconciliation with his son. "O my son Absalom, 
my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, 
O Absalom, my son, my son!" II Sam. 18:33. Absalom was 
never reconciled to his father because he would not surrender 
to David's love — David did all he could to reconcile him. 

E. The closest analogy to our condition is probably to be found 
in the human family relationship; parents with rebellious 
children; spouses with rebellious mates, estranged because of 
selfishness — "I WANT MY WAY, I WILL HAVE MY 
WAY. . . ." 

1. Barriers to peaceful, harmonious, communicative, lov- 
ing, growing, intimacy are formed. 

2. Though one person may deeply desire the barriers to be 
broken down, the offended person may still be angry 



193 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



with the offender because of the hurting, destructive ac- 
tions the offender continues to do toward a relationship 
that would only bring blessing to both! 

Classic Biblical illustrations of human estrangements and reconcilia- 
tions are found in the lives of Jacob and Esau — Joseph and his 
brothers — Hosea and his wife — Saul and David; then there is the 
parable Jesus told of the Prodigal Son, his father, and his elder 
brother. 

Listen to these words: You'll never suspect their origin: 

God's love extends to everyone, no matter how good or how bad, 
but it is a love whose integrity is grounded in his holiness. It is holy love, 
and is therefore not hobbled by the sentimentality and easy tolerance 
that passes for love today. The cliche (my words) "God will 
understand" is neither love nor grace: it is flaccid indulgence. It doesn't 
care enough to demand growth or change. It just leaves people alone, 
and wants the same for itself. 

As usual, C.S. Lewis is helpful here. He writes, "To ask that God 
be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God. 
Because he is what he is, his love must, in the nature of things, be im- 
peded and repelled by certain strains in our present character, and 
because he already loves us he must labor to make us lovable. God is 
committed to nothing less than restoring in us his image broken in the 
fall of man, and making us like his Son, (Eph. 2:10) — we are his 
workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. Because of this, 
Lewis concludes, his love is more sensitive than hatred itself to every 
blemish in the beloved ... of all powers he forgives most, but con- 
dones least, he is pleased with little, but demands all." 

God understands, that is true. But he understands in a way that is 
more fiery and more shattering than we can ever imagine this side of 
glory, if even then, I read somewhere, of an artist who was commis- 
sioned to paint a mural on the great window at the entrance to Macy's 
department store in N. Y. City. A few weeks after he finished he walked 
to the store to look again at his work. It was then that he discovered that 
the store had hired someone else to make some alterations in what he 
had painted. He was so horrified and enraged at the distortion of his 
creation that he hurled his body through the window. 

This is a vivid picture of God's holy love and the wrath that is, of 
necessity, a part of that love. He resists us as we are, not because he 
doesn't love us, but because he does. His grace is love that will not let us 
go, even when it would be perfectly just and easy to do so. (by Ben Pat- 
terson in "Wittenburg Door," Feb. -Mar. 1983) 



194 



THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION 

WHEN WE ARE HOSTILE TOWARD GOD, HE IS HOSTILE 
TOWARD US . . . BECAUSE HE MUST BE TRUE TO HIMSELF, 
AND TRUE TO LOVE . . . THAT IS TRUE LOVE, DIVINE 
LOVE. 

WHEN WE ESTRANGE OURSELVES FROM GOD, HE 
ESTRANGES HIMSELF FROM US ... HE MUST BE FAITHFUL 
TO HIS OWN INTEGRITY AND HOLINESS ... HE MUST BE 
TRUE TO REAL LOVE. HIS HOSTILITY AND ESTRANGE- 
MENT, IS HIS LAST RESORT ATTEMPT TO ALLURE US BACK 
TO HIMSELF. 

Please read the 2nd chapter of Hosea 

Please read Isaiah 54:4-8 

Please read Christ's seven letters to his bride, the Church in Rev. 2-3 

GOD LONGS FOR US, BUT HE WANTS US TO LONG FOR 
HIM . . . WITHOUT THAT THERE IS NO REAL RECONCILIA- 
TION! 

"I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and 
seek my face, and in their distress they seek me, saying, Come let us 
return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has 
stricken, and he will bind us up." Hosea 5:15-6:1. (Read the rest of 
Hosea 6). 

II. EMBRACED (Part of God's work of reconciliation is to em- 
brace) 

A. The One offended initiated the work of reconciliation. God 
took the first step toward reconciling us to him and himself to 
us. THAT IS THE WAY IT MUST BE DONE ... IT 
CAN'T BE DONE ANY OTHER WAY — NOT TRUE 
RECONCILIATION. 

THERE CAN BE NO FORGIVENESS UNTIL THE ONE 
OFFENDED BEARS THE BURDEN OF THE OFFENSE! 

1. God embraced man, by becoming man Himself in Christ 
Jesus. 

2. God erased the enmity (barrier, the offense) to the rela- 
tionship between Himself and man by appeasing Himself 



195 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

in the atoning death of His Son. 

3. In Matt. 5:24 Jesus instructs us that if we know a 
brother has anything against us, we are to go (make the 
initiatory move) and do something to try to remove our 
brother's estrangement, and so bring about a reconcilia- 
tion. What we do or say may not allure him to be recon- 
ciled, but we are to make the initial move! 

4. This is exactly how God acted in Christ. He did 
everything in His power to remove the barrier — even to 
"becoming sin for us"! He bore our offense in order to 
allure us into being reconciled! 

HE DECLARED HIMSELF, HIS JUSTICE, HIS 
HOLINESS, SATISFIED AND VINDICATED IN THE 
VICARIOUS ATONEMENT OF CHRIST. HE PRO- 
MISES THAT IF WE ACCEPT HIS HOLY WAY IN 
FAITH, WE NEED NOT FEEL HIS HOSTILITY AND 
ESTRANGEMENT ANY MORE. IF HE IS NOT 
ESTRANGED . . . CERTAINLY WE NEED NOT BE 
— BUT WE MA Y BE IF WE CHOOSE! 

A missionary at Dorchester, England, relates: "I frequently visited the 
penitentiary there. One day an officer called my attention to a 
prisoner and told this story — When he was a young man he was con- 
victed of manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment. After 
several years, Queen Victoria granted the man a pardon. Freedom, 
however, lost its attraction, and after a few days' liberty he returned 
to prison, requesting to be re-admitted. His request was granted, and 
there he was. By the grace of his sovereign, a free man, entitled upon 
request to walk through the gates as readily as the warden himself. 
Yet, so long as he preferred prison life, he must submit to prison 
discipline, prison food, and wear prison garb. Each night, when the 
bell rang, he must fall into line, walk into his cell, where the iron door 
clanged behind him and listen to the heavy bolt grating harshly in the 
lock and where night after night the receding steps of the turnkey 
revived the consciousness that he was still a prisoner, unreconciled to 
his sovereign and to free society. 

What kind of stupidity had taken possession of this man's mind? And 

196 



THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION 

yet, how like thousands living today? Preferring the false security of 
enslavement by conformity to the world, rather than responsible 
freedom by transformation and reconciliation to their sovereign God! 

B. God reconciled Himself to man. God embraced man. 

1. Christ's atoning death supplied the means by which God 
could forever after have a gracious attitude toward the 
sinner. 

2. God himself performed the actual, objective deed on His 
own Son that changed God's attitude and God's relation- 
ship toward the estranged sinner. 

Frank Weaver tells this story: Two men who had been 
friends and companions in their youth met in the police 
court, one on the magistrate's bench, the other the 
prisoner before the court. The case was tried and the 
prisoner was found guilty. The judge pronounced the 
sentence: 14 days hard labor or a fine of $1,000. The con- 
demned man had nothing to pay the fine. The judge rose 
from the bench, threw aside his magistrate's robes, and, 
stepping down to the prisoner, stood beside his friend, 
paid his fine for him, and then said, "Now, John are you 
coming home with me to supper." 

The Judge justified both the integrity of the law and the 
guilt of the law-breaker. They were reconciled. 
God, in Christ's death and resurrection, was both just 
and the Justifier of those who believe and obey. GOD 
AND SINFUL MAN ARE RECONCILED! 

C. Reconciliation is the very essence of the good news. 

1 . Reconciliation is the goal of God's redemptive plan from 
the garden of Eden to the throne of the Lamb in Revela- 
tion. 

2. Reconciliation is the goal of our faith in Christ. To be 
restored to personal, mental, spiritual fellowship with 
God is what the soul of man longs for. 

3. We are more than merely saved — we are embraced, 
endeared, reconciled. 

IF WE ARE NOT ALLOWING OURSELVES EVERYDAY TO BE 

197 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

MORE AND MORE CONQUERED BY GOD THROUGH 
CHRIST, WE ARE NOT BEING RECONCILED TO OUR 
FATHER ... WE ARE STILL PRODIGALS, FAR AWAY FROM 
HOME AND THE FATHER'S ARMS 

III. ENDEARED (Part of God's work of reconciliation is to endear 
himself to us). 

A. IT is this very deed of God performed on His only Son that 
not only changed God's relationship— 

1. But it also provides the possibility and power for the 
estranged sinner, influenced by God's love and grace, 
God's justice and faithfulness, to desire reconciliation 
and to seek it. 

2. God is the first mover. He makes the reconciliation. He 
accomplishes what is impossible for man He declares 
man pardoned, forgiven, embraced, reconciled. 

3 . And the fact of God's work of grace, moves us to accept, 
and change our attitudes and relationship. 

B. It is therefore the privilege of men to respond to such great 
grace. 

1 . God, in his great wisdom, provided the appeasement by 
which He is reconciled toward the sinner. 

2. And at the same time provided the power for us to be 
reconciled toward him. 

John 12:32 — "If I be lifted up. . . ." 

I John 4:10 — ". . . not that we loved God, but that he 
loved us. . . ." 

II Corinthians 5:18-19 — "God was in Christ reconciling 
the world to himself. ..." 

Romans 5:8,10 ". . . while we were enemies, Christ died 
for us. ..." 

C. We have access to the Father 

1. D. Martyn Lloyd- Jones writes: "Now the important 
thing to realise here is that the Lord Jesus Christ does not 
merely prepare or open the way to this. He actually ef- 
fects it, He actually produces it Himself. It is He who in- 
troduces us to the Father, brings us, takes us by the hand 
and ushers us into His presence. I am anxious to em- 



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THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION 

phasize the fact that this is really the grand end and ob- 
ject of salvation. And I suppose there has never been a 
time when this needs to be emphasized more than today. 
We have all become so subjective, and are so much in- 
terested in our own moods and states and feelings and 
conditions, that when we give our testimonies we say that 
what salvation has done is to make us happy, or to take 
away this or that; and there we stop. But the grand object 
of salvation is to bring us into the presence of God — 
nothing less, nothing short of that. " (God's Way of 
Reconciliation, p. 251) 
2. The object of salvation is reconciliation — happiness on 
God's terms, not ours. 

The object of God's redemption and salvation is to make 
us love him and long for clear, unfettered, access without 
any hostility toward God and his kingdom. 

THE OBJECT OF VICARIOUS ATONEMENT IS TO 
SATISFY GOD'S HOLINESS AND JUSTICE, AND 
TO AFFECT MAN'S UNCONDITIONAL SUR- 
RENDER TO HIS WISDOM AND LOVE! IN ORDER 
THAT GOD AND MAN MAY ENJOY ONE 
ANOTHER'S PRESENCE! 
IV. EVANGELISM (Those who have been reconciled have a work to 

do in God's program of reconciling the world unto himself). 

A. First, we are to regard no one from a human point of view. 

1. Everything and everybody we now think about, view, 
regard, relate to, according to the mind of Christ. 

2. We do not regard people or God's kingdom from even 
our own point of view, but only as Christ directs us in his 
word. 

3. Enough of this indulgent, destructive sentimentality that 
wants to sacrifice another person's reconciliation to God 
for the sake of being popular, being thought well of, not 
creating tension. Beware when all men speak well of you! 
Christians live in constant tension against worldliness! 

4. If we, as ambassadors of Christ, expect to do our work in 
reconciling the world to God, we must present the terms 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

of peace and reconciliation the sovereign has authorized. 
THE TERMS ARE COMPLETE SURRENDER! Christ 
views his kingdom as one whose members have counted 
the cost of complete surrender. It is not a mental half- 
way house. The Bible repeatedly says those of a divided 
mind and heart are not in the kingdom. 

RECONCILIATION, BY ITS VERY DEFINITION, DEMANDS 
UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, AGREEMENT OR 
PACIFICATION OF THE HOSTILE REBEL TO THE 
SOVEREIGN VICTOR. 

THOSE AMBASSADORS WHO REPRESENT THE SOVEREIGN 
ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROCLAIM NOTHING LESS! 

The work of reconciliation cannot be accomplished by baptizing 
bodies with minds left in worldly rebellion. People cannot be friends 
of the world and friends of God at the same time. If their minds are set 
on worldliness — they are enemies of God! James 4 

B. Second, we are appealers and beseechers, not manipulators. 

1. Paul wrote in II Corinthians that since we know the ter- 
ror of the Lord we persuade men to be reconciled. He 
also said that the love of Christ constrains us to preach. 

2. No one was ever truly reconciled by being manipulated 
into the kingdom. As ambassadors of Christ we are to ap- 
peal to, beseech, and persuade as many as will be per- 
suaded, as long as we have breath. THOSE WHO WILL 
NOT BE PERSUADED ARE NOT OUR RESPON- 
SIBILITY. 

3. There are two pre-requisites to becoming an ambassador 
of reconciliation. 

a. KNOW THE MESSAGE THOROUGHLY. We are 
not reconciling people to how we feel — but to what 
God has declared! 

b. KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE THAT 
MESSAGE. 

We cannot do people's thinking for them, but we 
must develop the communicative skills to get them to 



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THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION 

think about what God says in His word. 
THERE IS SO MUCH NON-THINK IN THE 
WORLD TODAY, IN THE AREAS OF FAITH, 
MORALS, IMMORALITY . . . AND THAT 
AMONGST THE SO-CALLED INTELLIGENT- 
SIA OF OUR WORLD! 

J.B. Phillips says, in Making Men Whole, p. 76ff: "It is not enough 
for us who are preachers or writers to give an adequate performance 
before the eyes and ears of our (audiences) . . . instead we have the 
formidable task of reconciling the Word of truth with the thought- 
forms of a people estranged from God; interpreting without changing 
or diluting the essential Word. . . . 

Doubtless there are times when we all bewail the particular pains 
and distresses of our calling, and even think enviously of someone 
else's vocation, but the plain fact is that if we are called of God to bear 
a part in His purpose, there can be no evasion of its cost. 

Let us then be clear what is involved in making our vocation serve 
God's purpose of reconciliation. Christianity is full of joy, but it is not 
ajoyride. ... It is as if we were called to be, as Sir Winston Churchill 
said in one of the darkest hours of the late world war, both grim and 
gay. The grimness comes from our knowledge of the strength of the 
forces arrayed against us; the stubbornness of human self-will, the 
sheer dead weight of apathy which above all else would quench the 
fires of our spirit. But full of joy we must be too, because day by day 
we have the deepest satisfaction this world can afford, of knowing 
that we are co-operating with — and even being allowed to share the 
cost of — the purpose of God Himself." 

Conclusion 

We do not comprehend the essence of reconciliation until we love 
deeply and intimately, and are hurt by a loved one's estrangement. I 
suppose we begin to understand when we have children. They are a 
part of us. We love them more than ourselves. When they estrange 
themselves from us we discipline and chasten them — not because we 
are unwilling to be hurt, but because we are unwilling for them to be 
hurt. Sometimes the reconciling time is long and difficult. It takes 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

great patience and much prayer. We have children here at OBC. You 
are our children in the faith. We have many of your brothers and 
sisters all over the world. We long for them — to see them — to give to 
them — to love them. We pray for them. We are unwilling for them to 
be hurt. 

We have great expectations for you. We love you. We are unwilling 
for you to be hurt. We will not indulge you so that you will be hurt. 
On the other hand, we will give you everything in our pwoer to keep 
you from being hurt. We want, first, to see you totally reconciled to 
God — totally surrendered — Unconditionally surrended to Christ. 
THEN, WE LONG TO SEE YOUR BECOME AN AMBASSADOR 
OF RECONCILIATION 

I think God has given us human family relationship so we may have an 
existential and even experiential knowledge of personal relationships 
which may be as humanly analogous as possible to the utlimate per- 
sonal, spiritual brethren. 

When I was a teen-ager, I alienated myself from my father. I didn't 
hate him, I just didn't want to be around him. I felt like he was too 
bossy — too demanding — didn't understand about my desires. I 
didn't fight him or openly disobey him. But I did not feel like I wanted 
to be close to him. It was not his fault. All this time he was forgiving 
and forgetting all my prodigal stubbornness. 

After marriage and two children of my own, I learned a lot. I finally 
admitted whose fault the alienation was. The last eight years of his life 
he lived right across the street from me. I got to know my Dad. We 
worked together, we took trips together, we went everywhere 
together. We became like one person. I was reconciled to him. 
NOW THAT HE HAS PASSED FROM THIS LIFE, I LONG FOR 
HIS PRESENCE! 

That is what God has for us — reconciliation. He desires for us to be 
reconciled to him, to be at peace with him, to long for him! 

When we, like the apostle Paul, find that war raging within ourselves 

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THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION 

so that we cry out for deliverance form our wretched selves, we may 
find reconciliation when we acknowledge that God has atoned for our 
sins in Christ and when we set our minds on the things of the Spirit 
(found in the word of the Spirit) and are led by the will of the Spirit 
(found in the word of the Spirit). 

When the Spirit of God, through the Word of God, bears witness with 
our spirit that we are a child of God, then we have begun our recon- 
ciliation — we have come home to our Father and we are one with 
him. 

The WORK OF RECONCILIATION is beautiful and emotionally put 
to poetry by Francis Thompson in his poem, "The Hound Of 
Heaven." 

It closes like this: 

"How little worthy of any love thou art! 
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, 

Save Me, save only Me? 
All which I took from thee I did but take, 

Not for thy harms, 
But just that thou might 'st seek it in My arms. 

All which they child's mistake 
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home: 

Rise, clasp My hand, and come!" 

Halts by me that footfall: 
Is my gloom, after all, 
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly? 

"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, 
I am He Whom thou seekest! 

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me!" 



203 



Special Study 



Faith 

(In order to appropriate the death of Christ) 

5th lecture in a series of six on the 

Meaning of the Cross; for Life of Christ 



Introduction 

I. SOME DEFINITIONS 

A. Hebrews 1 1 : Iff (jctcm?, pistis) 

1. Not so much a definition as it is a statement of faith's 
results — gives assurance of things hoped for, conviction 
about things not seen. In other words faith supplies reali- 
ty to that which is behond the sensory world. 

2. Faith is best defined when it is exemplified; in the lives of 
the saints of O.T. and N.T. — but especially as ex- 
emplified in the earthly life of Jesus. 

B. Alexander Campbell, Dec. 7, 1834, in an address on Reason 
and Faith, New York City Concert Hall, 

1. "Reason deciding that the testimony is true, is believing; 
reason deciding that the testimony is false, is disbelieving; 
reason unable to decide, is skepticism." 

2. Faith involves the whole man — but it must FIRST in- 
volve the intellect. 

II. THE BASIC ELEMENT OF PERSONAL FAITH 

A. Trust responding to evidence 

B. Commitment responding to need 

C. Fellowship responding to love 



Discussion 

I. AN INTRODUCTION 

A. We must know whom we believe 

1 . In the case of eternal life or eternal death it is never trite 
to repeat that before we can commit our souls to anyone 
we must first KNOW them 

2. We cannot believe in Jesus until we know Him 



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FAITH 

B. Alexander Campbell once said, no savage ever shed a tear 
over the death of Christ where it was not known 

1 . He was not being facetious 

2. Rom. 10:17, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what 
is heard comes by the preaching of Christ." 

C. The creation of faith in all men was the primary purpose for 
the recording of the facts about Jesus' life (the gospels). 
"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the 
disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are 
written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son 
of God, and that believing you m ay have life in his name." 
John 20:30-31 

D. So the first step in appropriating the death of Christ to sinners 
is that sinners be introduced to just who Jesus is, and that 
factually, He died, rose again, and that according to this same 
Jesus Christ, He died in the sinner's place. 

IF THEY DON'T KNOW HIM, THEY CANNOT BELIEVE 
IN HIM, AND HIS DEATH WILL NOT APPLY TO 
THEIR SINS 
II. AN IDENTIFICATION 

A. We must identify with Him 

1 . We must believe Him to such an extent that we trust Him 
to be Who He claims and to be able to Do All He Claims 

2. Here is where we "accept His death as our own death." 

3. Here is where we accept, by faith, that when He died, we 
died 

4. Seth Wilson said, "If I accept His death as my death so 
that my death is past, and it is no more my life that lives, 
and I am united with Him so that God sees Him in me, 
because He now lives in me, and sees me in Him, then He 
died my death." 

B. Galatians 2:20 states our position as believers 

1. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I 
that live, but Christ liveth in me; and that life which I 
now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the 
Son of God who loved me, and gave himself up for me." 

2. It is our belief and trust in Christ that causes us to 
acknowledge that our "old man" died with Him on the 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 



cross. 

3. Galatians 6:14 "But far be it from me to glory except in 
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world 
has been crucified to me, and I to the world." 

4. Jesus uses the incident of Moses and the serpent in the 
wilderness to illustrate how His being lifted up will save 
men who "look" upon Him in faith 

5. Galatians 3:26-27 — "For in Christ Jesus are all sons of 
God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized 
into Christ have put on Christ." 

C. Obedience is a definite part of our identifying with Him 

1. But this is a subject to be treated separately 

2. Suffice it to say her that a faith without obedience is a 
false faith 

3. It is possible for men, in a christian nation, to know the 
facts about Jesus (some facts, though probably distorted 
by false teachers) AND STILL REFUSE TO IDENTIFY 
WITH HIM BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY DON'T 
WANT TO DIE TO SELF 

III. AN INFUSION 

A. Our relationship to Jesus Christ must be deeper, more in- 
timate than identification 

1. If His death is to become ours, and His life is to become 
ours we must by unreserved faith (trust) let His personali- 
ty be so infused into ours we find that unity with Him 
which the N.T. urges 

2. It is expressed so aptly in II Cor. 5:14-17 . . . "For the 
love of Christ controls us; because we are convinced (note 
that word) that one has died for all; therefore all have 
died. And he died for all, that those who live might live 
no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake 
died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard 
no one from a human point of view; (because we don't 
live to exercise our own minds and to have our own feel- 
ings and to make our own judgments ... we simply 
don't have a life of our own anymore ... we are bought 
with a price). . . . Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is 
a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new 



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FAITH 

has come." 

B. Seth Wilson 

1. "The greatest mistake the Christian can make is to say, 
'it's my life, and I'll live it.' Because that just rejects our 
salvation, just like that. The only salvation there is for 
any sinner, is to give my life up to Jesus and to receive 
His death for mine. And anytime anybody thinks 'It's my 
life and I'll live it,' he has forgotten the cleansing from 
his old sins. He has forgotten his Savior, he has renounc- 
ed His master, and he has immediately taken all his sins 
upon himself afresh." 

C. This infusion must be a union of His nature with ours 

1. We must dwell in Him and His will and His character 
(doing what He did, saying what He said, trusting in the 
Father as He trusted). 

2. He is the source of our thinking, feeling, willing, acting 

3. He is the Vine and we are the branches 

D. We trust Him, believe in Him, commit ourselves to Him to 
the extent that we cease to live as we formerly lived. ... We 
died . . . and when we enter into covenant relationship with 
Him, two lives are blended together and His Spirit fills me, 
and my guilt is upon Him, and His righteousness is upon me. 
1. "His divine power has granted to us all things that per- 
tain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him 
who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which 
he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
that through these you may escape from the corruption 
that is in the world because of passion, and become par- 
takers of the divine nature.'''' II Pet. 1:3-4 



Conclusion 

I. SALVATION IS NOT JUST AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE 

II. SALVATION IS BY FAITH . . . AND FAITH COMES BY 
HEARING THE TESTIMONY 

A. Our salvation or redemption focuses on the objective deeds of 
God in history 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

B. "Reason deciding that the testimony is true, is 
believing. ..." 

C. When we use our reason, investigating the evidence 
(testimony), and decide that the testimony is true, and we are 
willing to accept and commit ourselves to the consequences of 
the testimony ... WE ARE REDEEMED! 

D. Of course, accepting the consequences of the truthfulness of 
the testimony is to accept our own death!!! and our new 
life!!! in Christ. 



208 



Special Study 



Obedience 

6th in series of 6 lectures for Life of Christ, 
Semester VI, The Meaning of the death of Christ 



Introduction 

I. MEANING 

A. Heb. shama; to hear, hearken, obey 

B. Gr. iWwuto, hupakouo (most frequent in N.T.); to hearken, 
lit. to hear under denoting the obligation of compliance 

II. USAGE 

A. Obedience in the Bible signifies active response to something 
one hears — not just passive listening 

B. One cannot truly hear God's word without acting upon it 

C. Obedience is the fundamental O.T. virtue 

1. I Sam. 15:22 

2. Jer. 1 1 :7 (It is the one thing God requires and which from 
the first determines His attitude to His creatures) 

D. Just as important in the N.T. 

1. It is both the cause and condition of salvation; through 
one act of obedience (Rom. 5:19) Christ became to all His 
followers the author of an eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9). 
But this salvation is only to be obtained on condition that 
they also obey. 

2. In His farewell address to His disciples Christ makes obe- 
dience the supreme test of love (John 14:15,23) 

3 . Paul declares that the obedience of the Christians should 
extend even to one's very thoughts (II Cor. 10:5) 

4. We are exhorted: (I Pet. 1:22) 

to obey the truth (Gal. 5:7) (Rom. 2:8) and not to obey 

wickedness 

to obey the gospel of God (I Pet. 4:17) (II Thess. 1:8) 

to obey the Son (John 3:36) 

Discussion 
I. OFFERED OBEDIENCE 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

A. Too often we look at obedience as an obligation 

1 . Actually God is doing us a favor in offering to let us obey 
Him 

2. Man's most basic need is fellowship with 
God . . . without God we become, in spite of all our 
human efforts, totally and helplessly alone 

3. Fellowship with God is made possible by ". . . loving the 
Lord your God, walk in all his ways, and cleave unto 
him. ..." Only when we respond to God's love by lov- 
ing obedience to His will can we experience communion 
with Him. 

B. Jesus made it clear that the only faith (trust) that counts as a 
faith that results in obedience. 

1. "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter 
the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my 
Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). YOU SEE, THE 
ONE WHO HAS NO DESIRE TO DO GOD'S WILL 
WOULD NOT BE HAPPY IN HEAVEN! 

2. "Why do you call me, Lord, and not do what I tell you?" 
Luke 6:46 

3. The Parable of the Two Sons (Matt. 21:28-32). Which 
one did the will of his father? THE ONE WHO 
OBEYED! Not the one who said he would and didn't! 

C. Faith without obedience is disobedience. 

1. Satan and the demons know the truth, but do not obey it 
(James 2:19) 

2. Obedience is not legalism. . . . Legalism is an attitude 
Obedience is not doing something whereby we earn or 
merit salvation 

3. Obedience is merely acknowledging God's wisdom, love, 
and authority, and availing oneself of the privilege of 
sharing or participating in that love, wisdom and authori- 
ty 

4. OBEDIENCE IS THE ONLY WAY TO PARTICIPATE 
IN WHAT GOD HAS TO OFFER! 

II. OPPORTUNITY TO OBEY 

A. God not only offers us obedience, He provides the method or 
agency by which we may obey 



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OBEDIENCE 

1. The first great act of obedience which unites us in the 
death of Christ is baptism 

2. This is what the 6th chapter of Romans is all about 

3. We are not saved simply by Jesus' death, but by our 
union with Jesus' death, by our entering into Jesus' 
death, by the applying of His death to us. 

4. Jesus died for the whole world, yet His death does not ac- 
complish the redemption for the whole world, only of 
those who are baptized into Him. THAT IS WHY BAP- 
TISM IS SO IMPORTANT, THAT IS WHY FAITH IN 
HIM IS SO IMPORTANT. 

5. Of course, there is nothing efficacious in the mere act of 
being dunked in water . . . hundreds of people do that 
every summer in swimming pools and bath tubs. 

a. The faith that leads a person to surrender self-will 
and self-direction over to God and causes that person 
to turn to God obeying God's word is what makes 
baptism efficacious. 

b. Baptism can be turned into an idol just like the ser- 
pent of the wilderness was idolized. 

c. Baptism without the proper relationship to the Per- 
son of Jesus Christ is no better than some pagan 
religious ritual 

6. On the other hand, baptism is the most appropriate way 
the Christian may express what he has believed about 
Jesus' death and resurrection. 

a. In this act of obedience the believer both symbolizes 
what he believes in his heart (Rom. 6:17) and has an 
objective point in time and in deed where he may 
surely experience doing the will of God (which ex- 
perience he must have), to say, "I have done God's 
will." 

b. It is here the believer declares to the world and to his 
own heart that he accepts the sentence of death to his 
own self-will and accepts the new life or new nature 
of Christ to dwell in his mind, feeling, will and body 

The other great act of obedience which unites us with the 
death of Jesus is the Lord's Supper; we may argue about fre- 



211 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

quency, but not the doing of it! 

1. Jesus definitely instituted the Supper to relate our faith 
and thinking to His death as a ransom (Matt. 26:26-29 
and parallels) 

2. Paul is also definite in I Cor. 11:23-32. 

3. Again, there is no miraculous efficacy in the loaf and the 
cup in and of themselves ... we do not earn or merit the 
blood of Christ by observing the Supper. 

4. But the Supper is the most appropriate way the believer 
may express what he continues to believe about Jesus' 
death and resurrection. 

a. In this act of obedience the believer both symbolizes 
what he believes in his heart and has, at the same 
time, an objective point whereby he may experience 
doing the will of God. 

b. It is here the believer declares to the world and to his 
own heart that he accepts the sentence of death to his 
own self-will and accepts the new life or new nature 
or Christ to dwell in him. 

C. All the other acts of obedience to the gospel of Christ are 
God's opportunities for us to participate in the death of 
Christ in our stead . . . opportunities to put to practice what 
we believe (that when He died, we died) (and that when He 
was raised we were raised to a new life) (Col. 3) 

1. Stewardship (giving) 

2. Evangelism (spreading truth and light to the world) 

3. Benevolence (ministering, as He ministered and gave 
Himself) 

4. Worshipping (Christ's act of obedient death was the One 
Supreme Act of Worship to God) (He was heard for His 
godly fear) 

III. OBJECT OF OUR OBEDIENCE 
A. Christ, the Lord 

1. If it were not for His obedience there would be little 
motivation for our obedience 

2. He pioneered the way in obedience. ... He 
demonstrated in the flesh that it was of the very nature of 
God to serve and obey. 



212 



OBEDIENCE 

3. After the great foot-washing incident, Jesus said, "If you 
know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them." John 13 

4. Jesus demonstrated that it is possible to dwell in the flesh 
and still to obey the Father. 

God does not require an obedience we are unable to render. 

1. Whatever his requirements may be, we are at the same 
time given strength necessary to keep them. 

2. There is therefore no legitimate excuse for disobedience. 

3. The same Jesus who requires of his followers that they 
obey the will of the heavenly Father obeyed. 

4. Furthermore He promised to dwell in us in His Spirit to 
aid us in obeying the Father. 



Conclusion 

JESUS CAME AND TABERNACLED AMONG MEN IN THE 
FLESH, TRUSTED GOD, OBEYED GOD, SURRENDERED HIS 
LIFE AND LIVED NOT UNTO HIMSELF BUT FOR GOD AND 
OTHERS. 

HE DID SO PERFECTLY. HIS DEATH PAID OUR PRICE, 
SATISIFIED THE JUSTICE OF GOD, SERVED OUR SENTENCE 
AND CHANGED GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARD REBELLIOUS 

SINNERS. 

JESUS DID ALL THIS TO BRING ABOUT A CHANGE IN OUR 
ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD AND DRAW US INTO THE 
FELLOWSHIP AND COMMUNION WITH OUR FATHER AND 
CREATOR WHO WANTS TO BLESS US ABOVE ALL WE ARE 
ABLE TO IMAGINE. 

WE MAY ENTER INTO THAT OFFERED FELLOWSHIP BY 
FAITH AND OBEDIENCE. 

IN SO DOING WE ACCEPT HIS DEATH AS OURS AND HIS 
LIFE AS OURS. ... WE NO LONGER LIVE TO SELF. ... WE 
ARE NOT OUR OWN TO DO AS WE SELFISHLY PLEASE 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ANYMORE. ... WE HAVE ENTERED INTO A DEATH, AND A 
RESURRECTION! 

THOSE WHO HAVE DIED ONCE, HAVE NO NEED TO FEAR 
THE SECOND DEATH. 

God will not force you to enter into a fellowship (sharing) or covenant 
of obedience. He will not force anyone to be what he does not want, 
really want, to be. 

No man would be happy being coerced to be good and righteous; e.g. 
the Parable of the Prodigal and elder Sons; Jesus did not force the 
Rich Young Ruler to give up his riches and follow Him. 



214 



Chapter Six 

The Problem with paganism 
(6:1-7:1) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Which O.T. prophet does Paul quote in 6:2, and why? 

2. Why would Paul "commend" himself (6:4) when in 5:12 he 
disclaimed doing so? 

3. What is the point in Paul's review of his "troubles"? 

4. What is being "mismated" with unbelievers? 

5. To what extent is the christian to "separate" himself from 
unbelievers? 



Section 1 

In Attitudes (6:1-2) 

Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to 
accept the grace of God in vain. Tor he says, "At the accep- 
table time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of 
salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is 
the day of salvation. 

6:1 Profitlessness: Paul is professing that he is laboring with God 
to keep the Corinthian christians from coming up empty of the grace 
of God. The Greek word kenon, translated "vain," stresses the 
absence of quality. It expresses the hollowness of anything, the 
absence of that which otherwise might be possessed. Chapter 6 ties in- 
to chapter 5. They are to be no longer like the pagan people around 
them, viewing everything from human perspective. If they do, it is cer- 
tain they are void of the grace of God. The grace of God demands that 
those who have actuated it in their lives see everything from the divine 
perspective! If those who claim to be christians still look at people and 
things differently than God's Word directs, the grace of God has been 
of no profit to them. Grace that is not responded to is an empty grace. 
It is no grace at all. It has never been received. 



215 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Paul had a problem with some christians who were responding to 
the grace of God in practically the same way their pagan (heathen) 
neighbors responded. Though they knew God, they did not honor him 
as God or give thanks to him (Rom. 1:8-21). Those who called 
themselves christian at Corinth had probably not fallen to the same 
depravity as those described in Romans the first chapter, but they 
were going that direction. They were listening to the Judaizers, glory- 
ing in the flesh, and refusing to let the pure grace of God fill them so 
they might see all from the divine perspective. That is the way heathen 
respond to God's grace. Preachers still have this problem, either with 
receiving the grace of God themselves, or with church-members who 
are empty of God's grace. 

6:2 Procrastination: The apostle quotes the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 
49:8). Isaiah's statement (49:8) is a messianic prophecy. The "time of 
favor" in Isaiah's prophecy calls upon the Year of Jubilee (Lev. 
25:8ff) as a type of the messianic age. Jubilee was a type of the time of 
delight and grace that would come when the Messiah appeared (see 
Isa. 61:2; Luke 4:16ff). Isaiah was predicting the N.T. dispensation 
(see author's comments in Isaiah, Vol. Ill, pg. 184, pub. College 
Press). 

The Judaizers among the Corinthian christians were seducing 
some into legalism and a rejection of the dispensation of grace. Paul 
quotes Isaiah here to refute the Judaizers. Paul is using the O.T. to 
prove that the gospel he preached to the Corinthians was the true 
gospel in the Messiah. They need not listen to the Judaizers and wait 
for another Messiah. To procrastinate would be to miss the "accep- 
table" time. 

God has only one "acceptable" time. That is the time "in Christ." 
The word "now" is the eschatological now, the now of the Christian 
age in contrast to the "then" of the Old Testament age. There is no 
other age more acceptable. The first "acceptable" in 6:2 is the Greek 
word dekto. The second "acceptable" is euprosdektos (literally, eu, 
well, pros, toward, dektos, acceptable), meaning "very favorable ac- 
ceptance." 

Essentially, Paul is saying, "Do not be waiting for something bet- 
ter." If ever the Corinthians were going to be changed from their 
pagan attitudes and pagan ways, the time was "now." Christ was (and 
is) the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. He is the fulfillment of 



216 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

all that God intended for man when man was created. Jesus filled up 
full God's purpose for man, and made that fulfillment available to all 
men who would receive it by grace through faith. The gospel age is the 
last age there will ever be (see I Cor. 10:11). 

To put off receiving the grace of God in Jesus, to procrastinate 
and wait for something better (in another Messiah) would be to miss 
the very favorably accepted time of God. And this searching and 
waiting for someone other than Jesus is not only what the majority of 
Jews are still doing, it is what the majority of heathen are still doing! 
Every preacher faces that problem with people today. He is sur- 
rounded by people who insist that God surely has a better way than 
grace through Jesus. Some of these people are even in the Church. 
They are sure that God still has some dispensation on earth yet to 
come which will be a "more acceptable time" than this present Chris- 
tian age. 

We must let God's grace fill us now, not tomorrow, not a thou- 
sand years from now. There is only one word on God's clock: is is 
now. The devil's time is always "tomorrow." God's time is always 
"today," "NOW"! Now is the day to quit looking at things like the 
heathen. Now is the day to start seeing everything through the re- 
vealed word of God, from the divine perspective. Paul taught this by 
precept and example. 



SECTION 2 

In Actions (6:3-13) 

3 We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be 
found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend 
ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, 
hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, tumults, 
labors, watching, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, forbearance, 
kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the 
power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right 
hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and 
good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as 
unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as 



217 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; 
as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet 
possessing everything. 

11 Our month is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. 
12 You are not restricted to us, but you are restricted in your own 
affections. I3 In return — I speak as to children — widen your 
hearts also. 

6:3-4 Endemic Conflicts: Paganism, which surrounded the chris- 
tians of Corinth in the first century, and permeated their every cir- 
cumstance and association, would also present itself as an easier way 
by which to deal with the crises and struggles of life. Paganism would 
free an individual from taking a personal, vocal opposition to 
falsehood, immorality, and indifference. Paganism would demand no 
forbearance, kindness or good reputation. It would be the path (Jesus 
called it, "the broad" way) of least resistance; it would be the way of 
the majority. It is evident from Paul's "first" letter to the Corinthians 
that some of the christians there had already been seduced back into 
paganism. This is a problem that every preacher faces in his ministry. 
Either he succumbs to paganism as a personal way of life, because of 
temptation or discouragement, or he is burdened with the paganism of 
God's flock. 

Once again, the apostle Paul appeals to his own life and ministry 
as an example and motive by which the Corinthian christians might be 
victorious over the pressures of paganism. He begins by declaring 
himself innocent of giving any obstacle (Gr. proskopen, "offense," 
literally, "strike-against") or hindrance to anyone else. Paul's motive 
for this is to keep his "ministry" from being blamed (Gr. momethe, 
"faulted, condemned"). That certainly is not the way of paganism. 
Paganism has no such concern for another's attitudes or reactions. 
Pagans just do not care, except for themselves. Unbelievers who of- 
fend others seldom concern themselves with the needs of the offended. 
But it was the apostle's way of living as a servant of God to commend 
(Gr. sunistanontes, "stand, approve") himself in every way. Paul asks 
the christians at Rome (Rom. 15:30-33) to pray earnestly that his "ser- 
vice for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints." Of course, Paul 
sought to commend himself in every good and godly way. But his ac- 
tions would not be commended by pagans. They would scoff at his 



218 



-1 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

behavior and call it "foolishness." (Acts 17:16-21; I Cor. l:18ff). 

Human beings learn and adopt behavior patterns more through ex- 
ample than any other source. It is imperative that christian preachers 
be aware of their conduct under all kinds of circumstances so that no 
one be turned away from Christ. There are certain conflicts or cir- 
cumstances which are endemic (go-with-the-territory) to the ministry 
of the Word. Paul suffered them all. And in it all, he was able to com- 
mend his ministry as acceptable to the saints. In verse 4, he lists a few 
of these indigenous sufferings. "In great endurance" (Gr. en 
hupomone polle) would be literally, "in remaining-under, much." 
The Greek word hupomone is from two words, hupo, "under," and, 
mone, "remain." Endurance is not necessarily passive. The same 
Greek word is used to describe the "patience" or "steadfastness" of 
Job (James 5:11), who was certainly not passive during his confronta- 
tion with his three friends and God! In all the trials and tests of the 
ministry of the Gospel, Paul learned how to keep himself steadfastly 
trusting in the grace of Christ (II Cor. 12:7-10). Jesus placed a 
premium on steadfastness and endurance (Luke 8:15; 21:19; Matt. 
10:22; 24:13), and so did the writers of the epistles. "In afflictions" 
(Gr. en thlipsesiri) might be translated, "in pressures." Every preacher 
knows about "pressures." Stress and tension are the constant 
companions of preachers. Paul knew pressure from his Jewish 
brethren, from his Gentile brethren, from pagan authorities, from co- 
workers, and in addition to all this was his "daily anxiety for all the 
churches" (II Cor. 11:28). And in the midst of extreme pressures, 
which few preachers since have ever experienced, he served God and 
men blamelessly across the whole Roman empire! Paul did not cave in 
or quit the ministry or revert to unbelief even in the face of great 
pressures. 

The next word describing circumstances endemic to the ministry is 
anagkais translated "hardships" in the RSV. This word is usually 
translated "constraint" or "constrained" or "compelled" (see Matt. 
14:22; Mark 6:45; Luke 14:23; Gal. 2:3; Acts 28:19, etc.) The word is 
also translated "necessities." Did Paul mean he continually felt "con- 
straints" and "compulsions"? Even though he was an apostle, there 
were all the ordinary submissions Paul had to make to others. He 
would be submissive to the elders of the church which sent him out as 
an evangelist or missionary (see Acts 14:26); he was submissive to civil 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

authorities (see Rom. 13:1-8); he suffered the restraints of some sort 
of physical handicap (II Cor. 12:7ff); and he was willing to forfeit 
many of his "rights" as a "strong" christian for the sake of 
"weaker" brethren. Paul suppressed many personal preferences and 
desires. He experienced frustrating constraints. But in it all he con- 
ducted a faithful and commendable ministry. 

The final word portraying circumstances that "go-with-the- 
territory" is stenochoriais . It is a combination of two words, steno, 
"short, narrow, little" (from which we get English stenography, 
"short-writing"), and, choria, "need, necessity, distress." This word 
stenochoriais is translated, "calamities" in the RSV and "distresses" 
in the KJV. Some might think "calamities" is too strong a word. 
However, Paul had to deal with a number of catastrophic or fateful 
situations. The riot in Ephesus was one such situation (Acts 19); the 
earthquake and the near suicide of the jailer in Philippi was another 
(Acts 16); the Judaizers, the implacable Jewish enemies, and the 
pagan rulers continually wreaking destruction on his work in every 
place, still another. The near ruin of the Corinthian church in his own 
lifetime was calamitous in Paul's mind. Certainly, not every christian 
work begun by Paul over the vast empire of Rome remained intact. 
Undoubtedly he heard of "calamities," at least beginning ones, in the 
churches he had labored so diligently to start (see Gal. 3:1; 5:1, etc.). 
Paul may be using the word stenochoriais to mean "short on 
necessities." In other words, Paul experienced "the short end of the 
stick" many times in his ministry., He had times of abundance, but 
times of deprivation and hunger too (Phil. 4:10-13). The majority of 
modern preachers, even in affluent America, know the experience of 
needing "necessities." Most preachers live on the razor's edge of 
"calamity" every day when it comes to salary, health insurance, 
children's needs, retirement needs, and other "necessities." Many 
times the calamity strikes! But we must all learn, as Paul did, how to 
be content and able to do all things through Christ who strengthens. 
Above all, there must be no obstacle put in anyone's way to come to 
Christ. 

6:5 External Tribulations: Along with the problems endemic to the 
ministry because of its very nature, there also come conflicts and ten- 
sions from outside the ministry. Paul uses a number of words to 
describe these external difficulties. There is the word plegais, 



220 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

"beatings," "stripes" or "wounds." We get the English word 
"plague" from transliterating this Greek word. Paul experienced 
"countless beatings" (II Cor. 11:23-25). Few American preachers 
have ever suffered this. However, many native preachers in foreign 
lands have! Many have been martyred, faithful unto death, and their 
number constitutes a great host of witnesses for the faith. There is the 
word phulakais, "imprisonments." He was imprisoned at Philippi 
(Acts 16), imprisoned at Jerusalem (Acts 21), and imprisoned at Rome 
(Acts 28) once, and again (II Tim.). There may have been other times 
(see II Cor. 11:23). Paul spent considerable time imprisoned at Rome 
— long enough to write four of his epistles (Galatians, Ephesians, 
Colossians and Philippians). There is the word akatastasiais, 
translated "tumults" or "commotions." We have already referred to 
the "riot" at Ephesus. And the book of Acts and Paul's epistles in- 
dicate that he had to continually suffer tumultuous hostilities from 
Jews and Gentiles alike (see Acts 13:45, 50; 14:4-6; 14:9; 15:5ff; 
16:19-24; 17:13ff; 18:6, 12; 19:9; 19:23ff; 21:27; 22:22; 23:6; 24:9; 
25:3ff). It is not easy to serve God and hold forth an acceptable 
ministry in the midst of constant commotion! But Paul did it. If he did 
it modern preachers can do it! There are the words, en kopois, "in 
labors." This Greek word means working to the point of exhaustion. 
Being a preacher of the Gospel is hard work (see Rom. 16:6, 12; Col. 
4:13)! Energy must be expended. Weariness, tiredness, beat-do wnness 
are physical accompaniments to the ministry. The amount of emo- 
tional stress that exhausts the physical body of a preacher is incom- 
prehensible to most non-preachers! Many preachers have literally 
ruined their health because they were "workaholics" and burned 
themselves out before their time. Preachers are "on the go" nearly 
every day of the week, and "on call" twenty-four hours every day. 
The word agrupniais, translated "watchings" but literally, 
"sleeplessness" (see II Cor. 11:27). Today's ministers get less sleep 
than doctors! There are meetings at the church nearly every night, and 
phone calls often after the preacher has gone to bed to sleep. The last 
word in this verse is nesteiais, translated "fastings" but more likely 
should be translated "hunger" (see II Cor. 11:27; Phil. 4:12). Paul did 
fast occasionally (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23) but there is no indication that he 
practiced fasting regularly. Few ministers of the Gospel in America 
have to suffer hunger, but many in foreign countries do. In spite of all 



221 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

these external tribulations, Paul commended himself in his ministry 
"in every way." An awesome example for all who follow in his voca- 
tion! 

6:6-10 Efforts at Christian Living: In every way possible Paul, the 
preacher faces the temptations and pressures of the pagan world 
around him and deals with them. In it all his ministry remains com- 
mendable. It is unassailable by either christian or non-christian. Even 
in the small details of everyday living — in the confrontations with 
people and institutions — Paul is the victor over paganism. In these 
verses he describes his efforts to maintain his christian life in the 
ministry. 

First, such a ministry necessitates purity. The Greek word is 
hagnoteti. It means "innocence, chastity, abstinence." The Greek 
word hagnoteti is from the same root as hagios which means "holy 
one, saint, sanctified." Paul lived a life of moral purity. He did not in- 
dulge in any of the lasciviousness of the heathenism surrounding him. 

The next word Paul uses to describe his christian living is, in 
Greek, gnosei, meaning "knowledge." The apostle does not qualify 
this "knowledge" as Biblical knowledge. He probably means to in- 
clude knowledge of all kinds and in all areas that would help him 
make his ministry "commendable." Paul knew Greek literature and 
poetry (Acts 17:28). He was a great scholar. He even familiarized 
himself with Gnostic philosophy enough to be able to expose its 
fallacies. But above all, he was a great Bible scholar! 

Paul commended himself and defended himself against paganism 
by a life of "forbearance." The Greek word is makrothumia, literally, 
macro-suffering, or "longsuffering." There is no doubt that Paul 
"suffered-long" with the Corinthians, the Galatians, and even many 
of the Judaizers. He would not permit himself the "luxury of retalia- 
tion or vendettas for personal wrongs. 

He was kind. "Kindness" comes from the Greek word chrestoteti. 
It is the word used by Jesus to characterize his "yoke" as "easy." To 
be kind is to be at ease with people — to make people feel at ease. To 
be kind is to make things easy for others — that is to aid others, to 
help and assist them. "Kindness" is active, not passive. The heathen 
world of Paul did not even understand the concept of being kind to 
one another, let alone doing kindnesses (see Rom. 1:31). The fruits of 
unbelief are "foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness and 



222 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

ruthlessness." Kindness does not indulge others in wrong. 

He faced the heathen world with "a holy spirit." In the Greek text, 
the words are en pneumati hagio. There is no definite article before 
pneumati and it should be translated, "a spirit" — evidently referring 
to Paul's human spirit and not the Holy Spirit. Furthermore the Greek 
word hagio is a neuter noun, also emphasizing that it is Paul's spirit 
that is holy (the Greek noun would be hagio, masculine, were it the 
Holy Spirit). It is possible for human beings to put up an outward 
show of ceremonial and ritual holiness while inwardly their "spirits" 
are in rebellion. The Pharisees (in which group Paul once held 
membership) were experts at this. Paul had changed all that. Now, 
even his "spirit" was holy. 

His inner person being surrendered humbly to Christ's imputed 
righteousness, he loved with a "genuine love." This is a characteristic 
Paul commanded other christians to cultivate (see Rom 12:9), so he 
practiced what he preached. The Greek words are actually, agape 
anupokrito, literally, "an unhypocritical love." Christian love is no 
facade. It is not surface and superficial. Christians do not "play like" 
they love. They really, genuinely, earnestly care. They care when they 
don't feel like caring. They care when others are not "worthy" of be- 
ing cared for. Pagans do not understand this kind of love. Pagans love 
those who love them first (see Matt. 5:43-48), 

Next the apostle claims to be different than the paganism around 
him because he commends himself "in a word of truth." Once again, 
the absence of the definite article before "word" (Gr. logo) means the 
"word" is Paul's word and not the Word of Truth. Heathen 
philosophy usually defined truth on a purely pragmatic basis. This 
was Pontius Pilate's concept of truth — whatever "worked" for his 
purposes. The apostle continues by asserting that he does not behave 
as an unbeliever so he puts no obstacle in any one's way and keeps his 
ministry free from fault "in God's power." The Greek reads, en 
dunamei theou. The "dynamic" for Paul's life is not heathenism, but 
God's power. God's power is resident in truth, love, righteousness, 
faith, and selflessness. The heathen would think to attain power 
through deception, indulgence, skepticism, and selfishness. 

One of the main problems the preacher faces in the tension be- 
tween his convictions about the Gospel ministry and the pull of 
paganism is the decision about which "weapons" to use to conduct his 



223 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ministry! Paul has already stated that he did not use worldly weapons 
to conduct his ministry (see II Cor. 2:17; 4:2). He will state it again (II 
Cor. 10:3-6) most emphatically. There is a constant temptation, not 
only for preachers, but for all christians to use "weapons" (methods, 
tools, practices, objects) that would compromise Biblical principles 
simply because such "weapons" seem to "work." It is the old trap, 
"the end justifies the means." Paul would have nothing to do with 
that kind of subtle, but pernicious, paganism. He said he conducted 
his ministry "with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand 
and for the left." He fought the good fight of faith armed completely 
in righteousness. No underhanded, cunning, one-hand-one-thing and 
the other-hand-another with Paul. Double-mindedness, divided 
heartedness, and split-handedness is paganism. We must not only 
yield our minds and souls, we must also yield the members of our 
bodies as "weapons" of righteousness in the service of God (see Rom. 
6:12-23). The Roman soldier was armed with a sword in one hand, a 
shield in the other. The sword was a weapon of offense, the shield a 
weapon of defense. Paul says he conducts his ministry, both offen- 
sively and defensively, always careful to do what is right (righteous). 

Finally, Paul lists a series of stark circumstantial contrasts he has 
had to live through as he conducted his ministry. This is an awesome 
list of clashing experiences. To live through such situations would 
destroy all except those surrendered in faith to the grace of God. Paul 
is determined however, that regardless of a life filled with 
dichotomies, he will bring no discredit on the ministry God gave him. 
He is committed to proving himself a genuine minister of God 
whatever he might have to go through. 

He begins by stating there were times when he was "honored" (Gr. 
doxes, "glory"), and there were times when he was "dishonored" 
(Gr. atimias, devalued, as in money). In Biblical usage, both the 
Hebrew and Greek words translated "glory" literally mean "to give 
weight to." In other words, to assess, to give value to, is what is meant 
by "glorifying." Sometimes Paul was considered valuable, other 
times, not. There were times when people spoke well of Paul and times 
when they spoke evilly of him. He uses the Greek words dusphemias 
("defamation") and euphemias (from which we get the English word 
euphemistic, literally, "well-spoken") to describe contrasting reputa- 
tions circulated about him. Even though Paul continually strove to 



224 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

present himself blameless before God and men (I Cor. 8:24-27; Phil. 
3:12-16) not everyone spoke well of him! Not everyone spoke well of 
Jesus! And our Lord said, "Beware when all men speak well of you" 
(Luke 6:26) because some men speak well of false prophets! 

During his ministry Paul had to endure from christians (especially 
at Corinth) what is normally expected only from heathen people. Ap- 
parently one of the reports circulating in the church at Corinth was 
that Paul was a deceiver. "Impostor" is not a good translation of the 
word planoi used by Paul in the Greek text. Planoi is the word from 
which we get the English word planet, and literally means, "to 
wander, to stray." Paul was accused of being one who led people 
astray! Yet Paul's actions were always true to the gospel, and his 
preaching was always true to the gospel. He never strayed from the 
gospel even if it meant a face to face confrontation with a "pillar of 
the church" (Gal. 2) or with kings (Acts 24:24ff; 26:24ff) or Jewish 
high priests (Acts 23: Iff) or Greek intellectuals (Acts 17:22-31). 
Slander is to be expected from those who hate God, but not from 
those who profess to love God. But every minister of the gospel, if he 
is realistic, expects it, even from professing followers of Christ. 

And though Paul taught that recognition should be given where it 
as due (Rom. 13:7; I Cor. 16:18) and scrupulously practiced it himself 
(Rom. 16; I Cor. 16; etc.), there were times when christian people ig- 
nored him and deliberately refused to acknowledge him. He says there 
were times when he was an "unknown" as well as times when he was 
"well known." But that did not keep Paul from serving the Lord in 
every way he could. He was not devastated by lack of recognition. If 
people, even christian people, were oblivious to his importance he was 
able to deal with it by considering it their problem — not his. He knew 
that his ultimate recognition would come from the King of the 
universe (II Tim. 1:11-12; II Cor. 10:18; Rom. 2:29, etc.), so the 
recognition of men was of little significance. 

The christian life presents a continuing combination of paradoxes, 
even to the christian himself, let alone to the unbeliever. If Paul could 
see his life and ministry in the Lord as "dying, and behold we live; as 
punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as 
poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing 
everything," how then must the unbeliever see the christian ministry? 
Usually the sees only the physical, visible aspects of lives totally com- 



225 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

mitted to Christ — martyrdom, discipline, sorrow, poverty, and 
destitution. This was the visible lot of the apostles, many of the first 
century christians (see Heb. 10:32-39), and is that of many followers 
of Jesus today. Especially is this the case with preachers and mis- 
sionaries surrounded by societies which have outlawed freedom of 
speech and religion. And some of these circumstances apply to nearly 
every preacher who is unwilling to compromise the message and the 
ethics of God's word. 

Paul is not theorizing here. These words — martyrdom, discipline 
(Gr. paideuomenoi, chastening), sorrow, poverty, destitution (Gr. 
meden echontes, "nothing having") — describe the normal outward 
circumstances of the christian life. Many christians, especially in free 
and prosperous societies, are unwilling to admit Paul's statement here 
as a characterization of the christian life. They find no paradoxical 
dichotomies between the physical and spiritual aspects of their 
discipleship because they are physically free, untroubled, and pros- 
perous. But still, the life of any christian willing to sacrifice self and 
surrender all that he has (Luke 14:33), will experience these 
paradoxes. And he will be tempted to view them as a pagan would. 

However, every preacher or missionary who faces martyrdom, 
chastening, sorrow, poverty, or destitution, may also experience life, 
joy, wealth and victory. That is the spiritual side of the christian 
ministry. And the spiritual experience is the only experience that 
abides forever. The physical experience is momentary (see Rom. 8:18; 
II Cor. 4: 16-18). Through the divine perspective (faith in God through 
his revelation, the Bible) every christian can enter into that eternal ex- 
perience right now (see Heb. 11:1)! Paul did! There is no reason 
preachers of the gospel or christians should ever be plagued with the 
problem of pagan perspective! 

6:11-13 Extending Christian Love: Christian preachers and 
workers will always be plagued with the problem of pagan insensitivity 
when they extend true christian love. Agape-love (God-like love) is 
love offered even to those who do not "deserve" it. It is love given 
without any expectation of reciprocation. It is not based on sentiment 
but it is a deliberate, rational act of caring and helping even when sen- 
timents are contrary. 

Paul's expression, "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our 
heart is wide" is graphic. It portrays complete, undisguised honesty. It 



226 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

offers complete exposure to vulnerability. Both Greek words used by 
Paul, aneogen (has been opened), and peplatuntai (has been 
enlarged), are perfect tense verbs indicating that Paul had extended 
himself fully in love to the Corinthians long before he wrote this letter 
and was still doing so. Paul had spoken to them and loved them 
without any reservations or restraints. He placed no qualifications on 
his love for them. They had undoubtedly hurt his feelings by their 
carping insinuations about his integrity (see l:15ff). They had 
demonstrated their immaturity and carnality by sinning against his 
apostolic message. But Paul was still as wide open in his mind and 
heart toward them as ever. He would verbally expose every recess of 
his mind and heart to them as before. He would give of himself com- 
pletely as before. He is holding none of himself from them — protec- 
ting nothing of himself from them. 

But what plagued Paul was they were restricting themselves. They 
were acting like non-christians. The word translated "restricted" is 
the Greek word stenochoreisthe, and means, "to reduce." The Corin- 
thians were reducing the possibilities of a joyful fellowship with the 
apostle Paul by their own refusals to be as open and loving as Paul. 
These words are a classic description of the attitude and approach 
which must be used for the healing of alienations between christian 
brethren and friends. Jesus exemplified this with his apostles (see John 
15:12-17; Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15-22, etc.). Perhaps the christians at Cor- 
inth had fully repented of their criticisms of Paul (see II Cor. 7:5-11). 
But they were still limiting themselves the joy of complete 
brotherliness with Paul by "restricting their own affections," They 
would not "widen their hearts" as he had. The Greek word 
splagchnois is translated "bowels" in the KJV, but, rightly "affec- 
tions" in the RSV; literally the word means, "inward parts," or 
"viscera" and encompasses the higher organs of the body such as the 
lungs, liver, and heart — all considered to be the residence of human 
emotions. Man is created in the image of Almighty God. Therefore, 
man is by nature, mind, will and emotions. Paul is saying here that 
nothing stood between him and open, loving brotherhood with the 
Corinthians except their own "feelings" toward him. And there was 
no justification for these "restrained" feelings. 

When Paul said, "In return (for my open heart) — I speak as to 
children — widen your hearts also," he was not accusing them of 



227 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

childishness (although their withholding of affection was childish), he 
was appealing to them as & father to children. His appeal was one of 
affection! He was their "spiritual" father. By. his gospel preaching 
they were conceived and born (Acts 18), and by his preaching and 
epistles they were nourished. When Paul spoke of widening their 
hearts he used the past tense of the imperative (Gr. platunthete) in- 
dicating their hearts were not yet opened as his (perfect tense, 
peplatuntai) was and had always been. Imperative mood indicates 
Paul was imploring them to return his affections. 



Section 3 

In Associations (6:14-18; 7:1) 

14 Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partner- 
ship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has 
light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or 
what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? "What 
agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the tem- 
ple of the living God; as God said, "I will live in them and move 
among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my peo- 
ple. "Therefore come out from them, and be separate from 
them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will 
welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my 
sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse 
/ ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make 
holiness perfect in the fear of God. 

6:14-16, Yoking: It has never been the will of God that his chosen 
people should yoke themselves unequally (Gr. heterozugountes, from 
which we get the English, zygotes, and the prefix, hetero, "yoked to 
one of a different kind") with unbelievers (see Exod. 23:2; 33:16; 
34:11-16; Lev. 20:26; Gen. 24:3; 28:1; Num. 23:9; Deut. 7:2-3; Josh. 
23:6, 7, 12; Jdgs. 2:1-2; Ezra 4:3; 6:21; 9:12; 10:9-15; Neh. 9:2; 10:30; 
13:3; 13:23-27; Psa. 1:1; Prov. 4:14; 24:1; Isa. 52:11; Acts 2:40; Rom. 



228 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

16:17; I Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:11; II Thess. 3:6, 14; I Tim. 6:5; II Tim. 
3:5; II John 10). The fact that God's people continue to do so is a pro- 
blem that plagues preachers and other spiritual leaders of the church. 
For the idea of "yoking" see, Matt. 11:29; I Tim. 5:18; 6:1; Gal. 5:1; 
Acts 15:10; I Cor. 9:9; Phil. 4:3). 

Paul is not talking about necessary social associations here. He 
had already granted that christians would often times have to be 
"associated" with unbelievers in mundane affairs (I Cor. 5:9-13). 
What the apostle seeks to forestall here is the uniting of a christian 
with an unbeliever so that the christian is actually working toward the 
same purpose as the unbeliever. There is an illustration in the O.T. in 
the prohibition against yoking together an ass and an ox in order to 
plough a field or do any other work (Deut. 22:10; Lev. 19:19). The 
apostle clarifies what he means in the following contrasts and op- 
posites. What Paul says here relates to the opening words of this 
chapter, ". . . we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain" 
(6:1). William Barclay writes, "The idea is that there are certain things 
which are fundamentally incompatible and were never meant to be 
brought together. It is impossible for the purity of the christian and 
the pollution of the pagan to run in double harness." For the christian 
to accept the grace of God and then join with any enterprise which is 
blatantly opposed to the will of God and dedicated to destroying 
righteousness and truth is vanity! It is self-deception! 

The christian cannot be in partnership with iniquity (Gr. anomia, 
lit. "lawlessness"). It is an impossibility! Jesus declared, "No man 
can serve two masters . . ." (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; James 4:4). No 
man can be a friend of God and a friend of the world at the same time. 
No man can obey conflicting orders or realistically serve two opposing 
sovereigns! The christian must love righteousness and hate lawlessness 
(Heb. 1:9). 

Paul continues, "What fellowship has light with darkness?" Light 
(Gr. photi) has no communion (Gr. koinonia) with darkness (Gr. 
skotos). Where one is the other cannot be! Another impossibility! (see 
Eph. 5:8-11; I John 1:5). 

What accord (Gr. sumphonesis, from which we get the English 
word, symphony) has Christ with Belial (Gr. Beliar, lit., "worth- 
lessness, ruin, desperate wickedness"). The word Belial came to be 
used as a name for Satan. Christ gathers, Satan scatters (Matt. 



229 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

12:22-32). Where one is the other cannot be! Another impossibility! 
Neither can a man be a believer and an unbeliever at the same time. 
Therefore the believer must not unite himself, or make himself .par? of 
(Gr. meris) anything dedicated to producing unbelief. If he does, he 
becomes an unbeliever. It is impossible to be a believer while working 
at the same time to produce unbelief! 

The last phrase, "What agreement has the temple of God with 
idols?" is conclusive. The word "agreement" is from the Greek word 
sugkatathesis and means literally, "stand together with." It was a 
word common to the Greek culture of that day and meant, "to ap- 
prove by putting the votes together." Idols, false gods, and everything 
for which they stand, lying, wickedness, and hurtfulness, vote as one. 
They all agree in opposing the God of truth. Every new idol or image 
added to history's pantheon of false gods votes the same. But can any 
one of these false gods be brought into the "temple" of God (the 
christian's heart), there to speak and vote for truth, righteousness and 
love? Never! No false god will ever vote in unison with the True God. 
Christians cannot be joined to idols! (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; I Cor. 
10:6-22; 12:1-3; I Thess. 1:9; I John 5:21). Covetousness is idolatry. 

Believers, individuals united to Christ in covenant relationship, are 
the temple of God. The Spirit of God resides in those who have believ- 
ed in his Son and obeyed his revealed will. God allowed his chosen 
people in ancient times to build an ornate temple in which they might 
congregate and glorify his name. But no building, however ornate, 
could ever be the residence of God. He does not dwell in temples made 
by human hands (Acts 7:47-50; 17:24; Isa. 66:1-2; John 4:20-21). In 
symbolic form God's presence was in the "holy of holies" of the 
Hebrew tabernacle and temple. But in reality his presence has always 
been in the hearts and minds of believers (Psa. 51:10-11; 148:10; Isa. 
63:11; Ezek. 11:19; 18:31; 36:27; 37:14; Hag. 2:5; Num. 27:18; Rom. 
8:5-17; I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21-22; I Pet. 2:5). Jehovah God is the Ab- 
solute Sovereign of everything that exists. There is no other sovereign. 
Any man who wishes the Absolute Sovereign to dwell in him cannot 
allow another god to dwell there. Jehovah cannot be "other-yoked" 
with idols in man's heart. Jehovah votes for absolute truth; idols vote 
for absolute falsehood! 

The RSV double spaces its text between 6:13 and 6:14 and between 
7:1 and 7:2. This emphasizes the parenthetical nature of the passage. 



230 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

But that should not necessarily lead us to think of the passage as 
disconnected to the subject under discussion here! Such momentary 
digression is certainly in keeping with Pauline literary style in 
Romans, Ephesians, Hebrews and other works. But remember the 
context. Paul has been vindicating himself against slanderous op- 
ponents. He has also been pleading with the Corinthian believers to 
reckon themselves "new creatures" in Christ, with new constraints 
and new perspectives. It is altogether plausible to suggest that the 
unbelievers of 6:14 are those opposing and slandering Paul to the Cor- 
inthian church. In fact, it appears there were unbelievers within the 
church there denying the resurrection (I Cor. 15). Paul is exhorting the 
believers in Corinth to clearly separate themselves from these 
unbelievers. There also appears there are unbelievers trying to call 
themselves christians and worship idols at the same time (I Cor. 8, 9, 
10). When Paul uses the word heterozugountes, "yoked to one of a 
different kind," he is admonishing the christians at Corinth they 
"cannot live in the church with someone who does not share their pre- 
suppositions." 

Whatever this passage means, it cannot forbid members of the 
Christian Church to be married to spouses who are believers from 
other denominations. There are "believers" in all denominations. We 
believe denominationalism is a spiritual error. Christ is not pleased 
with its perpetuation. But then, there are numerous spiritual errors be- 
ing perpetuated within the Restoration Movement with which Christ is 
not pleased. Are we to think Paul's plea for separation in this text is 
for separation from every person who believes the Bible is God's in- 
spired word and Jesus is his divine Son, though they may sincerely 
obeying differently than we because they have never been privileged to 
see as we have seen? Never! 

Whatever this passage means, it cannot mean the absolute prohibi- 
tion of the marriage of a believer to an unbeliever. First, the context 
forbids any such interpretation; no mention is made here of the mar- 
riage relationship. Second, the Greek tense of the verb, 
heterozugountes, present tense participle, would literally be 
translated, "Do not go on being yoked to one of a different 
kind. . . ." That would contradict what the same apostle wrote in I 
Cor. 7:12-13. While the Old Testament (see references cited above) 
forbids Hebrews from marrying "foreigners," the prohibition was 



231 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

clearly concerned with maintaining separation from idolatry. Joseph 
married Asenath, daughter of an Egyptian priest (Gen. 41:50); Moses 
married a Midianite (Exod. 2:21); Hosea was commanded by God to 
marry a woman "with a spirit of harlotry" (Hosea 1:2) and when she 
deserted him and wound up in the slave market, Hosea was told to go 
"love again" a woman who is an "adulteress" (Hosea 3:1-5). 

This passage focuses contextually on all that has been said in 
chapters 5 and 6. Contextually, Paul is giving a call for believers in the 
church at Corinth to separate themselves from the unbelieving, wicked 
opponents who are slandering him. What Paul has done is to take his 
usual argument against idolatry and apply it to those in Corinth seek- 
ing to destroy his ministry to the truth. 

6:17-18; 7:1 Yielding: The place of God's abode is to be always 
pure. That which is false, in rebellion against God, and hurtful cannot 
abide where God abides. Otherwise, God is false, impotent and un- 
worthy of trust or adoration. God dwells in believers and believers are 
the church. The church must not yield to pagan influence of any kind 
— neither theological nor ethical. The church must "come out and be 
separate" from false doctrine and false living. And Paul had to deal 
with both circumstances in his letters to Corinth. 

Plainly, he has in mind here the arrogance the Corinthians had in 
refusing to immediately discipline ("drive out") the man living an 
adulterous life with his father's wife (I Cor. 5: Iff). That is apparent 
from Paul's subsequent discourse in II Corinthians 7:11-13. 

Paul quotes from (or paraphrases) a variety of Old Testament 
passages here to prove his point that wickedness cannot be tolerated 
where God dwells (Lev. 26:11-12; Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34; Jer. 51:45; 
Isa. 48:20; Jer. 50:8; Zech. 2:6-7; II Sam. 7:14; Exod. 25:8; Ezek. 
37:27; Jer. 31:1). For verse 18 see Hosea 1:10 and Isaiah 43:6. God's 
chosen people in the Old Dispensation, warned over and over not to 
"yoke" themselves to gods "of a different kind," would not separate 
themselves from idolatry and heathen wickedness. They eventually 
became, in fact, worse than their heathen neighbor-nations in idolatry 
and wickedness (see Jer. 2:11; 18:13). In the Revelation given to John 
concerning the seven churches of Asia Minor, an angel, with authority 
and splendor, cried with a loud voice to the church surrounded by the 
idolatry and licentiousness of the Roman empire, "Come out of her, 
my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her 



232 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

plagues. . . ." (Rev. 18:4). No matter how difficult it may be, it will 
always remain true that christians must separate themselves from 
anything and anyone that is opposed to God and what God has 
declared right. The Lord never promises separation from ungodliness 
will be easy (Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24; Matt. 18:23-26; John 
15:18-21; Matt. 10:34-39; Luke 12:49-53; 14:25-33). The Greek word 
translated separate is aphoristhete. It is a compound of apo, "from," 
and horizo, "boundary, limit, fixed point." Horizo is the word from 
which we have the English word, "horizon." Paul is saying that chris- 
tians must "Come out from the midst of them (unbelief) and fix 
themselves away from unbelievers." Believers are not to "touch" (Gr. 
haptesthe, "fasten or cling to") anything that defiles or dirties (Gr. 
akathartou, "unclean"). This means anything that defiles spiritually. 
Anything in opposition to the will of God is unclean. 

There is a "cost" which must be paid to follow Jesus — separation 
from whatever is disapproved by Jesus and his word. But what a 
reward! The "separated one" is "welcomed" (Gr. eisdexomai, 
"taken by the hand, taken hold of") by God into God's eternal family 
like the "father" welcomed the "prodigal son" (Luke 15:11-24). The 
"cost" for separation from ungodliness is infinitesimal compared 
with the reward! 

It is unfortunate that our English translations are marked with a 
chapter division between 6:18 and 7:1. Chapter 7, verse 1, is plainly 
the concluding statement of this passage about holiness and separa- 
tion. There were no chapter divisions when Paul wrote this letter in 
Greek. Chapter divisions were inserted by Stephen Langton in the 
thirteenth century. And verse divisions were inserted by Stephanus, 
the Paris printer, in the sixteenth century. We will treat 7:1 here. 

Since God has promised judgment (II Cor. 5:10, 11) for the im- 
penitent and gracious adoption (II Cor. 6:16-18) for the separated, it 
is imperative that we have a catharsis (Gr. katharisomen, 
"cleansing") from every pollution (Gr. molusmou, filthiness, 
foulness) of body and spirit. Body, soul and spirit make up the whole 
man (I Thess. 5:23). A man cannot keep his body pure but sin with his 
mind and expect Christ's approval (cf. Matt. 5:21-30). Nor should the 
christian try to justify himself by saying he keeps his mind pure so it 
doesn't matter what he does with his body. That Gnostic sophistry is 
thoroughly denounced by Scripture (I John 3:4-10, etc.). 



233 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

The last phrase is most significant. Paul instructs christians 
precisely as to how this separation and cleansing is to be accom- 
plished. It is done by "perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (Gr. 
epitelountes hagiosunen en phobo theou). The word epitelountes is a 
present tense participle derived from the word teleios which means, 
"to complete, to finish, to bring to its goal." In other words, we reach 
the goal of holiness (we are separated, cleansed) in the fear of God! 
The fear of God is a healthy (cathartic) attitude! Peter tells us to "pass 
the time of our sojourning herein fear" (I Pet. 1:17). Only the fear of 
God will purge a world in rebellion against God of its wickedness. On- 
ly the fear of God will restore that sense of awe, respect and worship 
that is absent from both the church and the world. Isaiah wrote, 
". . . when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the 
world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not 
learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals perversely and 
does not see the majesty of the Lord." (Isa. 26:9-10). The Psalmist 
said, "When he slew them (the Israelites in the wilderness) they sought 
for him; they repented and sought God earnestly." (Psa. 78:34). See 
sermon notes at the end of this chapter, Judgment Begins at the House 
of God. 

The scriptures bear witness that a significant contributing factor to 
purging the church of its plague of paganism is consistent proclama- 
tion of the judgment and fear of God. Paul says so in this very text! 
The goal of holiness is reached through the fear of God. 

And so Paul has dealt with another problem that plagues preachers 
— the problem with paganism. Paganism now, as then, is at times an 
attraction in which preachers may be tempted to indulge, or it sur- 
rounds a preacher like a plague in those to whom he ministers. And 
how did Paul deal with it? By first appealing to the brethren at Cor- 
inth to remember how much he had opened up his heart in love to 
them and pleading with them to reciprocate the same kind of open- 
ness. And, second, by reminding the brethren of the incongruity of 
yoking belief to unbelief. And, third, by pointing out that holiness is 
brought to its goal through the fear of God. Not a bad plan for the 
church to follow in any age! 

APPREHENSION: 

1. How does chapter 6 tie into chapter 5? 



234 



THE PROBLEM WITH PAGANISM 

2. Why does Paul quote from Isaiah about the "acceptable time"? 

3. What is Paul's purpose in appealing to his own ministry as free of 
placing obstacles in people's way? 

4. Name four restraints Paul had to endure in his ministry. Do 
preachers today suffer any similar "restraints"? 

5. Are preachers anywhere today suffering beatings, as Paul did? 
Where, Why? 

6. Is preaching and ministering work? Hard work? Who says so? 

7. Is scholarship essential to preaching? Scholarship in what areas? 

8. What is kindness? Why should those who minister be kind? 

9. Can love be hypocritical? When is it unhypocritical? 

10. What weapons did Paul use to conduct his ministry? 

11. Did anyone ever assail the reputation of the apostle Paul? Why? 

12. Should preachers and other christian workers be recognized for 
their work? 

13. What are some of the paradoxes of christian ministry? 

14. What does Paul mean, "do not be mismated with unbelievers"? 

15. What is the "temple of God" Paul talks about in 6:16? 



APPLICATION: 

1. Name some ways you have responded to the grace of God. 

2. Do you know anyone waiting for a more "favorable" time to be 
reconciled to God? Why are they waiting? What have you said to 
them? 

3. How do you handle the conflicts and circumstances that go-with- 
the-territory in ministering as a christian? 

4. Do you concern yourself with helping your preacher find relief 
from the "pressures" of his ministry? How? 

5. What can you do to help those today who are being beaten and 
persecuted for their ministries? How was Paul helped? Can that 
kind of help still be given today? 

6. What is so "hard" about preaching or ministering? Have you 
tried it? Would you be willing to follow your preacher two days 
next week and do everything he does? 

7. Does your church expect its preacher to devote much time to stu- 
dying the Bible and preach Biblical sermons? Does it grant him 



235 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

the time to do so? 

8. How is a person kind to another? Have you been kind to someone 
today? 

9. Can you love when you don't feel like it? How? Why? 

10. Is it alright to use whatever works in preaching and ministering? 

1 1 . How do you handle defamation of your reputation? Has it ever 
happened to you as you ministered in Christ's name? What did 
you do? 

12. Does it hurt when you do not receive recognition for some good 
deed? 

13. How do you resolve the paradox of being a christian and yet hav- 
ing so much sorrow surrounding you? 

14. Does "do not be mismated with unbelievers" mean do not marry 
non-christians? Why do you think so? 

15. How is a christian to go about separating himself from 
unbelievers and uncleanness? Do you fear God? Should the fear 
of God be preached? 



236 



Special Study 
Judgment Begins At the House of God 

Ezekiel Chapters 15-24 
Text: 18:30-32 



Introduction 

I. SILENCE IN THE PULPITS TODAY ABOUT JUDGMENT! 

A. General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said 
at the turn of this century, "The chief danger of the 20th cen- 
tury will be: Religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity 
without Christ, Forgiveness without Repentance Salvation 
without Regeneration, Politics without God and Heaven 
without Hell." 

B. There certainly is no silence in the O.T. on the subject of 
JUDGMENT! 

C. Neither is the N.T. silent about it! 

In fact, Jesus talked more often about the judgment than he 
did grace, or mercy, or practically any other subject! 

D. In Cruden's Concordance: 

1. 666 references to Judgment or Judge 

2. 288 references to Merciful, Mercy 

3. 108 references to Forgive or Forgiven 

II. AND, SURPRISINGLY TO MOST PEOPLE, THE BIBLE 
FOCUSES FIRST ON JUDGMENT UPON THE HOUSE OF 
GOD (HIS COVENANT PEOPLE). 

A. From Genesis to Malachi, God's Old Covenant scriptures are 
primarily a record of God's judgments, chastenings, 
disciplines upon God's chosen to produce for himself a Mes- 
sianic people. 

B. From Matthew to Revelation, the New Covenant is the same 
— JUDGMENT FIRST UPON THE CHURCH TO PRO- 
DUCE A "CITY SET ON A HILL" "A LIGHT UNTO 
THE WORLD" "A PILLAR AND SUPPORT FOR THE 
TRUTH." 

C. When the church of Christ was faced with the depravity and 
violence of the first four centuries of the Roman empire, 
Christ began by judging the churches of Asia Minor, 



237 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

D. The epistles are laced with apostolic judgments, and promises 
of judgments, for wickedness within the churches themselves! 

1. In Corinth, division, sexual immorality, idolatry, 
drunkeness, pride, false doctrine. 

2. In the Galatian church, legalism, false teachers 

3. Then there is Hebrews, James, Jude, I & II Peter — all 
warning of judgments if repentance was not forthcom- 
ing. 

III. AWAKE, REPENT, O CHURCH OF GOD, FOR JUDGMENT 
MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD. 

A. Someone has said that hell is truth seen too late. 

B. The truth is, judgment comes. It is no myth. It is sober fact. 

C. Judgment is not merely something that the Church is announ- 
cing to the world. It is something that God is saying to the 
Church itself. 

D. Judgment must begin at the House of God. 

It is clear Biblical teaching that God continues to purge his 
Church on earth through judgments. 

But the church, almost as if it were taking its theology from 
an unbelieving world, refuses to say much about the Judg- 
ment. 

Dr. L. Nelson Bell, former missionary, and Billy Graham's father-in- 
law, once said: "Why is there so little preaching on judgment today? 
Because man's concept of wrath is do distorted by his pleasure in sin 
he cannot understand the wrath of a holy and righteous God. Further- 
more, men want the approval of their peers and it is not popular to ex- 
pose the nerve of sin and its consequences!" 



Discussion 

I. THE PRECIPITATION OF JUDGMENT 

A. First, God's chosen people rejected God's Word. 

1 . Ezekiel was told, "... they will not listen to you because 
they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house 
of Israel are of a hard forehead and of a stubborn heart. " 
3:7 



238 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

2. Then there were the false prophets "prophesying out of 
their own minds" "crying peace when there was no 
peace" "hunting down souls for their own profit," Ezek. 
ch. 13 and 22. 

3. And those who came to Ezekiel's house to sit before him 
and BE ENTERTAINED! They came to church to be 
entertained ... for a spectator sport. God told Ezekiel 
they would listen to his words, but they would not do 
them. Ezekiel was to them like one who sang love songs 
with a beautiful voice and like one who played well on an 
instrument, and the people heard it all (and were enter- 
tained) but they did not do them. 

4. GOD HAS STORED UP JUDGMENT FOR HIS PEO- 
PLE IF RELIGION IS TO THEM ONLY ANOTHER 
FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT ... AN ESCAP- 
ISM ... A PASTIME. 

5. The Church today, with all its electronic flim-flam, its 
self-serving "star-studded" entertainment 
syndrome . . . seeking emotional thrills but not doing the 
word of God, stands just where Judah stood in Ezekiel's 
day! 

B. Second, rejecting God's word leads to unfaithfulness. 

1 . Having scorned God's word, there was no basis or reason 
for remaining faithful to their commitment to belong ex- 
clusively to Jehovah. 

2. Ezekiel depicts man's unfaithfulness to God in the 
parable about God's unfaithful wife (ch. 16). 

3. Those who are contemptuous of the sacredness of mar- 
riage vows destroy the very basis for faithfulness in that 
human relationship. 

4. Just so, unfaithfulness toward God, our husband, is due 
to contempt for the sacredness of our covenant vows with 
him. 

5. Unfaithfulness comes from a permissive, promiscuous, 
rebellious attitude. It is a "me first," "I am responsible 
to no one," "I may have promised, but I don't intend to 
keep promises" mind-set. 

6. Unfaithfulness is destructive of every social structure 



239 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

known to man . . . the family, the church, the nation. 
7. God loves his bride, the church, with an everlasting, ab- 
solute love. He is jealous for her affection, her commit- 
ment, her faithfulness. AND HE WILL BRING DOWN 
HIS WRATH ON A CHURCH UNFAITHFUL ... A 
CHURCH WHO FLIRTS WITH THE WORLD. A 
CHURCH PROSTITUTING ITSELF TO EVERY 
FALSE, VAIN FAD AND FASHION . . . GOING 
AFTER SOME OTHER SOVEREIGN, WILL SOONER 
OR LATER COME TO JUDGMENT. 
C. Third, an unfaithful attitude led Judah to immorality. 

1. Immorality is more than actions — it is a mind-set. 
Immorality is choosing wrong rather than right, and then 
doing wrong. There is only one right — and that is what 
God's word says is right! Therefore, to choose against 
what God's word says, its immorality! 

2. An immoral mind-set will inevitably be lived out in im- 
moral actions. Worshiping other gods, making other 
things sovereign in our lives, is spiritual prostitution! 
MAKING ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD FIRST IS 
IMMORAL! 

3. Immoral actions may be wrongs committed or rights 
omitted. 

Large segments of Christ's church have rejected God's word, have 

violated his covenant, have prostituted themselves immorally in 

unbelief, and have played the role of whore . . . seeking another love. 

Turning their back on God's love, offered through his covenant terms 

(explicityly outlined in his Word), THEY ARE UNDER HIS 

WRATH! 

II. THE PURPOSE OF JUDGMENT 

A. For the sake of God's name! This statement is repeated over 
and over in Ezekiel (ch. 20 and 33) 

1. God judges first the house of God, so it "will know that I 
am the Lord." God must vindicate his sovereignty — his 
absolute, exclusive sovereignty. 

2. He must prove, with evidence unmistakable, that all 
other "gods" in which man is tempted to trust are false, 



240 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

not sovereign, have no power. 

GOD DOES THIS BY JUDGMENT UPON FALSE 

GODS AND THOSE WHO WORSHIP THEM! 

3. There is nothing more important (certainly not man's 
feelings or circumstances) than God vindicating his 
nam el 

WHAT GOOD WOULD OUR FEELINGS OR CIR- 
CUMSTANCES BE, NO MATTER HOW PLEASANT, 
IF GOD DOES NOT PROVE THAT HE EXISTS AND 
THAT HE IS ALL POWERFUL, AND THAT HE 
ALONE IS TO HAVE OUR UNDIVIDED 
ALLEGIANCE? 

4. These people of Ezekiel's day would eventually throw 
their precious, expensive idols of gold and silver out into 
the garbage dumps because they had it proven to them 
Jehovah God was supreme ... he proved it by 
JUDGMENTS! 

5. God has to prove to "his house" (first) that he is 
sovereign and that he will judge unfaithfulness and 
idolatry. 

If God is indifferent to immorality and idolatry within his 
own "house" his name is of no significance to either his 
own or to the world. 

Rom. 1:1 8f f . . . God has revealed his wrath from heaven against all 
ungodliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in 
unrighteousness, and he has revealed it in the things that have been 
made (i.e. nature) which prove his existence and his omnipotence 
(sovereignty). 

God judges through nature by allowing men to suffer in their own per- 
sons the due penalty of their errors (Rom. 1:28). 

GOD HAS BUILT INTO HIS REDEMPTIVE PROGRAM CER- 
TAIN NATURAL JUDGMENTS UPON THE WICKED DEEDS 
OF MEN. 

HIS NAME IS VINDICATED SINCE THROUGH THESE 
JUDGMENTS SOME WILL ACKNOWLEDGE HIS POWER AND 
SOVEREIGNTY AND TURN TO HIM FOR SALVATION. 



241 



i 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

"Sixty-minutes, CBS, March 16, 1986, investigating the epidemic of 
AIDS among the 70,000 homosexuals in San Francisco. One 
homosexual man called it "a plague." He said the homosexual com- 
munity is gripped with "fear." The majority see it with fear and are 
"changing their life-style." 300 homosexuals are no longer crusading 
for political power, but are pleading for help. One out of every 2 
homosexuals (35,000) have AIDS. "Our community is 
devastated . . . there is a lot of fear." But one with the disease said, 
"Some people are claiming this is a judgment of God upon us for be- 
ing homosexual, but my God is a different kind of God than 
that ... he is a merciful God and would not punish me for being a 
homosexual." 

GOD IS VINDICATING HIS NAME AND HIS WORD (esp. Rom. 
l:18ff) BEFORE OUR VERY EYES! 

GOD IS DOING IT RIGHT HERE IN JOPLIN (AND 
THROUGHOUT THE USA) WITH JUDGMENTS UPON A 
SOCIETY INDULGING ITSELF IN ILLICITY DRUGS. 

B. To turn men from their sins. The fear of judgment is a major 
factor running from Genesis to Revelation in God's message 
to turn men from sin. 

1. Hear the Psalmist: "When he slew them (the Israelites in 
the wilderness) they sought for him; they repented and 
sought God earnestly" Psa. 78:34. 

2. Isaiah said, "... when thy judgments are in the earth, 
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor 
is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; 
in the land of uprightness he deals perversely and does 
not see the majesty of the Lord" (Isa. 26:9-10). 

3. Paul wrote in II Cor. 5:10-11, ". . . we must all stand 
before the judgment seat of Christ. . . . Therfore, know- 
ing the terror of the Lord we persuade men. ..." 

C.S. Lewis, in his book, The Problem of Pain, writes: ". . . Pain as 
God's megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final 
unrepented rebellion. But gives the only opportunity the bad man can 



242 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth 
within the fortress of a rebel soul. . . . Evil man must not be left 
perfectly satisfied with his own evil ... it must be made to appear to 
him what it really is . . . evil. ... To condone an evil is simply to ig- 
nore it, to treat it as if it were good. . . ." 

Hebrews warns christians not to go back to legalism for justification 
because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, 
10:26-31. 

Leroy Garrett points out in Restoration Review, Jan. 
1986, p. 205-207. 

"... impressive was the 'great fear' that pervaded the 
primitive church, and we see from Acts 2:43 that fear was 
a reaction as early as Pentecost. . . . 

The angelic cry from heaven is to 'Fear God and give 
him glory' (Rev. 14:7), and man's ultimate duty has been 
defined as 'Fear God and keep his commandments' (Eccl. 
12:13). 

"... Two very public sins and two very real executions! 
(Ananias and Sapphira). If the same rule were applied to 
the church today, we'd likely have a plethora of funerals. 
But in time we'd have less sinning! 
"... The fear generated by this chilling incident poured 
over into the community. While the townspeople held the 
church in high esteem for its moral standards, the record 
tells us an amazing fact about their reaction: None of the 
rest dared join them (Acts 5:13). While the church had 
enjoyed rapid growth, it suddenly came to a screeching 
halt. For a time no one would join the church, lest the 
penalty of sin be too severe. Such a conclusion as "If you 
join the church you may get yourself killed!" was possi- 
ble. But it was not for long, for as the church continued 
its powerful witness 'more than ever believers were added 
to the Lord' (Acts 5:14). The judgment against Ananias 
and Sapphira demonstrates that God is indeed in control 
and that he takes sin seriously. And it reveals that there is 
a place in the hearts and minds of us all for the fear of 
God." 



243 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Mr. Garrett . . . "Only the fear of God will rid our 
world of its tormenting moral plagues, whether ter- 
rorism, drugs, child abuse, crime in our streets. And only 
the fear of God will restore that sense of awe and worship 
that is lacking in both the church and the world." 
C. To purge a people for himself through which he may offer 
redemption to the unbelieving world. 

1. Ezek. 18:30-32 

2. Ezek. 20:32-44 

3. Paul says the church is to perfect holiness in the fear of 
God (II Cor. 7:1) 

4. Peter tells us to "pass the time of our sojourning here in 
fear" (I Pet. 1:17). 

5. If the church will not judge itself, God will! 

HE IS DETERMINED TO MAKE REDEMPTION 
AVAILABLE TO SINFUL MAN THROUGH A HOLY 
CHURCH. 

6. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Corinthians tell- 
ing them to judge the immoral man and deliver him to 
Satan for the death of the flesh. Paul says more in rebuke 
to the church for its refusal to judge and purge, than he 
does about the immorality of the man. 

Then Paul continues in I Cor. ch. 6 continuing to rebuke 
them about their indifference to judging themselves. 

7. God brought his judgments upon the Old Covenant peo- 
ple from Abraham to John the Baptizer (2400 years) and 
purged only a small remnant through which he brought 
the Messiah into the world. 

8. God began to the church from the moment of its incep- 
tion on Pentecost. He continued judging the church into 
the next four centuries during the Roman empire (letters 
to the 7 churches of Asia Minor — Revelation). 

A CHURCH NOT JUDGED AND PURGED BY 
CHRIST IS NOT PREPARED TO STAND AGAINST 
THE DECEPTIONS OF THE BEAST, FALSE PRO- 
PHET, AND HARLOT. 

SHOULD WE DARE THINK OUR GENERATION 
WILL BE EXCLUDED FROM GOD'S JUDGING 



244 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

AND PURIFYING! 
III. THE PROCLAMATION OF JUDGMENT 

A. Each person is responsible for his own sin. Ezek. 18:33 

1. No circumstances, environment, deprivation, or other 
person can be blamed for an individual's sin, in spite of 
what sociologists and psychologists may say. 

2. The Bible, God's inspired, inerrant word deals with sin 
from the only divine, omnipotent, omniscient perspective 
known to man. 

Question, CAN THE BIBLE BE TRUSTED TO PRO- 
VIDE "ALL THAT PERTAINS TO LIFE AND 
GODLINES?" ... IN THE AREA OF SPIRITUALI- 
TY? 

WHAT DID THE EARLY CHURCH DO BEFORE 
FREUD, BEFORE PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS? 
DID THEY HAVE ANY RESOURCE AVAILABLE 
SUFFICIENT TO DEAL WITH SIN? 

WERE THE HOMOSEXUALS, TRANS VESTITES, 
PEDOPHILES, MANIC-DEPRESSIVES, 

SCHIZOPHRENICS, NEUROTICS, PSYCHOTICS IN 
SOCIETY BROUGHT INTO THE CHURCH AND 
THEN SENT TO PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS? 
NOT ACCORDING TO I COR. 6, etc. 

Those who would not follow God's revelation in the N.T. 
to cure all kinds of socially aberrant behavior were left to 
"suffer in their own persons the due penalty of their er- 
rors" ... or as Jesus put it in Matt. 18, were as the Gen- 
tile and the publican. 

Those who were in the church and unwilling to change 
social behavior rapidly were delivered to Satan for the 
mortification of the flesh. Those christians who were 
overtaken in a trespass, and repented, were restored in a 
spirit of gentleness. 

3. The book, Psychological Seduction, by William Kirk 



245 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Kilpatrick, a teacher of psychology at Boston College, 
writes, 

a. In 1952 Hans Eysenck of the Institute of Psychiatry 
at the University of London discovered that neurotic 
people who do not receive therapy are as likely to 
recover as those who do. Psychotherapy, he found, 
was not any more effective than the simple passage of 
time. 

b. Dr. Eugene Levitt of the Indiana University School 
of Medicine found that disturbed children who were 
not treated recovered at the same rate as disturbed 
children who were. 

c. Extensive Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study 
showed that uncounseled juvenile delinquents had a 
lower rate of further trouble than counseled ones. 

d. Other studies have shown that untrained lay people 
do as well as psychiatrists or clinical psychologists in 
treating patients. And the Rosenham studies in- 
dicated that mental hospital staff could not even tell 
normal people from genuinely disturbed ones. 

e. Despite the creation of a virtual army of 
psychiatrists, psychologists, psychometrists, 
counselors, and social workers, there has been no 
letup in the rate of mental illness, suicide, 
alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, divorce, 
murder, and general mayhem. 

The more psychologists we have, the more mental ill- 
ness we get; the more social workers and probation 
officers, the more crime; 
4. Mr. Kilpatrick continues: "A good deal of research sug- 
gests that psychology is ineffective. And there is evidence 
pointing to the conclusion that psychology is actually 
harmful." 

a. He says, "The church has always proceeded on the 
assumption that reality is what we are built for: the 
more of it we get, the better off we are. The Christian 
faith is not founded on beautiful subjective thoughts, 
but on decisive historical events that occurred during 



246 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

the time when Augustus and Tiberius ruled Rome." 
What our Lord came to reveal, moreover, was not a 
set of inspirational themes, but a transcendent reali- 
ty, the reality of things as yet unseen but nevertheless 
fixed and solid." 

b. The mind's first duty, then, is not to prefer pleasant 
thoughts but to record things as they are. 

c. And in that revelation of reality from God is the 
reality of GOD'S JUDGMENT UPON PEOPLE 
BECAUSE THEY ARE PERSONALLY RESPON- 
SIBLE FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR! 

d. And you should get the book, Reality Therapy, and 
read that! Written by a psychologist practicing in 
veterans hospitals and delinquent juvenile institu- 
tions. 

He insists that the cure for anti-social behavior is fac- 
ing the reality of personal responsibility for one's 
behavior and changing it, even it it takes discipline 
and punishment to produce the reality! 

IT IS THE CHURCH'S RESPONSIBILITY TO PREACH WHAT 
THE BIBLS SAYS, PRACTICE WHAT THE BIBLES 
SAYS . . . AND NOT CALL UPON INADEQUATE (AT BEST) 
AND PROBABLY HARMFUL HUMANISTIC SYSTEMS 
CALLED PSYCHOLOGY. 

MEN AND WOMEN AND TEENAGERS ARE RESPONSIBLE 
BEFORE GOD AND BEFORE MAN FOR THEIR ANTI-SOCIAL 
ACTIONS. THEY MUST HEAR AND BE CONVINCED THAT 
GOD JUDGES SIN AND WICKEDNESS. 

WE HAVE TOO LONG LIED TO OURSELVES ABOUT 
WICKEDNESS AND CALLED IT, "DISEASE," "MENTAL ILL- 
NESS," "LIBERATED LIVING," "EVOLUTION OF THE 
SPECIES," "DIFFERENT LIFE-STYLE" . . . ETC., ETC. 

5. Some people see what I've said as cruel, uncompas- 
sionate, unforgiving. 



247 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

But get this straight — forgiveness has nothing to do with 
letting the forgiven have his own way! 
Some think if you don't let the one doing wrong have his 
own way you haven't forgiven him. 
THAT'S NOT THE WAY GOD FORGIVES. 
PARENTS KNOW THAT! 

JESUS ALWAYS SAID, "GO . . . SIN NO MORE, 
LEST A WORSE THING BEFALL YOU!" 
6. It was the apostle Peter who wrote in his second epistle 
that the world deliberately ignores the fact of the judg- 
ment of God upon sin. THE FACT OF JUDGMENT IS 
WRITTEN IN THE FOSSIL RECORD .". . THE 
GREAT FLOOD IN NOAH'S DAY WHICH IS THERE 
INGRAVED IN STONE! 

SO MAN DEVISES EVOLUTION IN WHICH TO 
HIDE FROM THE REALITY OF THE JUDGMENT! 

B. Proclaiming the judgment is to be a real burden to believers! 
God made it intimately personal to Ezekiel. HE WANTED 
HIS PEOPLE TO NOT ONLY KNOW ABOUT JUDG- 
MENT, BUT TO BE BURDENED WITH IT AS A MOTIVE 
FOR PROCLAIMING IT. 

SO HE TOLD EZEKIEL, "Sigh therefore, son of man; sigh 
with breaking heart and bitter grief before their eyes" 21:6. 
AND HE WAS TO SIGH BECAUSE OF THE TIDINGS OF 
JUDGMENT COMING. 

1. One of the things the church of the N.T. is to do is 
"groan and travail inwardly (and outwardly) as we see 
this present creation subjected to futility Gudgment), 
Rom. 8. 

2. GOD WAS GOING TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE 
JEWS OF EZEKIEL'S DAY THE "DELIGHT OF 
THEIR EYES" (THE TEMPLE) SO THEY WOULD 
BE BURDENED WITH HIS JUDGMENTS. 

C. Judgment upon the world (and that will include the church so 
long as she is in the world) is a very significant part of "THE 
ETERNAL GOSPEL." 

1. "Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an 
eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the 



248 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 
and he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him 
glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and wor- 
ship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the 
fountains of water" (Rev. 14:6-7). 

2. In Acts 24:25, Paul preached justice, self-control, and 
future judgment before kings and emperors. 

3 . Paul preached the day of judgment as certain and proved 
by the resurrection of Christ, to philosophers, Acts 
17:30-31. 

4. Peter preached judgment as ordained by God, Acts 
10:42. 

5. Jesus said he came to judge the world, John 9:39; 12:31; 
12:18,49. 

6. The work of the Holy Spirit is to convince the world of 
sin, of righteousness, and the judgment, John 16:8-11. 

7. Jesus proclaimed the judgment in almost every lenghty 
sermon he preached. . . . 

a. In the Sermon on the Mount, ch. 7. 

b. In the Sermon in Parables, Matt. 13. 

c. In the Sermon on His Deity, John 5. 

d. In His sermons during the Feast of Tabernacles, 
John 7,8,9,10. 

e. In his last sermon to the apostles, John 15-16. 

f. In his great evangelistic sermons in Luke 
13,14,15,16,17. 

g. AND IN THE TENDEREST PARABLE JESUS 
TOLD, THE ONE OF THE PRODIGAL SON, HE 
SHOWED THAT IT WAS THE JUDGMENT 
UPON THE PRODIGAL'S REBELLION THAT 
TURNED HIM BACK TO HIS FATHER! 

FRIENDS, IT IS THE CHURCH'S CALLING TO PREACH AND 
WARN, FIRST ITSELF, THEN THE WORLD, OF THE TERRI- 
BLE JUDGMENT COMING. JESUS IS COMING WITH HIS 
ANGELS IN FLAMING FIRE, TO RENDER VENGEANCE UPON 
ALL THOSE THAT KNOW NOT GOD AND OBEY NOT THE 
GOSPEL, II Thess. l:8ff. 



249 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

THE CHURCH IS NOT PRACTICING EVANGELISM UNTIL 
SHE DOES THIS. GOD PUT THE JEWS IN THE CENTER OF 
CIVILIZATION TO PROCLAIM AND PROVE THE 
SOVEREIGNTY OF JEHOVAH . . . THEY DEFAULTED ON 
THEIR CALLING ... SO GOD JUDGED THEM TO PROVE TO 
THEM AND TO THE WORLD AROUND THEM THAT HE 
MEANT WHAT HE SAID. 

WE MUST PREPARE OURSELVES FOR THE REDEMPTIVE 
PROGRAM OF GOD . . . AND THAT INCLUDES THE FACT 
THAT, "JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD." 



Conclusion 



When the great, busy plants of our cities 

Shall have turned out their last finished work, 
When the merchants have sold their last order 

And dismissed every last tired clerk, 
When our banks have raked in their last dollar 

And have paid out their last dividend, 
When the Judge of the earth wants a hearing 

And asks for a balance — WHAT THEN? 

When the choir has sung its last anthem 

And the preacher has voiced his last prayer, 
And the people have heard their last sermon 

and the sound has died out in the air, 
When the Bible lies closed on the altar 

And the pews are all empty of men, 
When each one stands facing his record, 

And the great Book is opened — WHAT THEN? 

When the actors have played their last drama 
And the mimic has made his last fun, 

When the movie has flashed its last picture 
And the billboard displayed its last run' 



250 



JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD 

When the crowd seeking pleasure has vanished 

And gone out in the darkness again, 
When the trumpet of ages has sounded 

And we stand before HIM — WHAT THEN? 

When the bugle call sinks into silence 

And the long marching columns stand still, 
When the captain repeats his last orders 

And they've captured the last fort and hill' 
When the flag has been hauled from the masthead, 

All the wounded afield have checked in, 
And the world that rejected its Savior 

Is asked for a reason — WHAT THEN? 

IF THERE IS ANYONE HERE THIS MORNING, WHO HAS NOT 
OBEYED THE GOSPEL, WE PLEAD WITH YOU TO COME 
FORWARD NOW, AND CONFESS YOUR FAITH IN JESUS 
CHRIST, OBEY HIS COMMAND TO BE IMMERSED FOR THE 
FORGIVENESS OF SINS, AS BOTH HE AND HIS APOSTLES 
HAVE STATED IN THE BIBLE. ... " 

DO IT TODAY. JUDGMENT IS COMING. IT IS CERTAIN. BUT 
GOD'S GRACIOUS FORGIVENESS IS CERTAIN, TOO, IF YOU 
WILL JUST HEAR, AND DO WHAT HE HAS SAID. 



251 



Chapter Seven 

THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

7:2-16 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Why would an apostle have to urge christians to "open" their 
hearts to him? 

2. How could Paul say he did not regret making the Corinthians sorry 
by his letter? 

3. Is there actually a danger that christians might have only 
"worldly" grief? 

4. Can there be grief without regret, even if it is "godly grief"? 

5. Why is Paul so concerned about the experience Titus had with the 
Corinthians? 



Section 1 
Augmentation (7:2-9) 

2 Open your hearts to us; we have wronged no one, we have 
corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not 
say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our 
hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I have great con- 
fidence in you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with com- 
fort. With all our affliction, I am overjoyed. 

5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no 
rest but we were afflicted at every turn— fighting without and 
fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted 
us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also 
by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he told 
us of your longing your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I re- 
joiced still more. 8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I 
do not regret it (though I did regret it), for I see that that letter 
grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not 
because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into 



253 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

repenting; for you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss 
through us. 

7:2-4 Passion: Repentance has been defined by William 
Chamberlain as"a pilgrimage from the mind of the flesh to. the mind 
of Christ." In other words, repentance is an ongoing, constant battle 
to bring the believer's mind and body into captivity unto Christ (see II 
Cor. 10:3-5). Repentance is not a one-time*' event in the life of a 
believer. Repentance and spiritual growth are synonymous. It is an 
ever recurring problem for preachers — in their own lives, certainly — 
but also in their struggle to produce it in the lives of those to whom 
they minister. Repentance is the primary goal of all preaching (see 
Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 11:18; 17:30-31,- etc.). When Christ evaluated 
the seven churches of Asia Minor in order to prepare them for the 
"great tribulation" at the hands of beastly Rome, he admonished 
them to "repent." 

The fundamental problem preachers have with repentance is its 
augmentation. Even apostles struggled in their ministries to produce 
repentance in people. Paul had been dealing for a long time with the 
need of the Corinthian christians to repent of their arrogance toward 
the sinful man and woman in the congregation (see comments I Cor. 
5: Iff). Paul had been severe in his communications with the Corin- 
thians, both face to face, and in writing. This had caused some 
believers at Corinth to react with hostility toward Paul, slandering his 
character. This posed another sin from which he admonished them to 
repent. Paul wrote a "severe" third letter and sent it to Titus. While 
Titus was away in Corinth, Paul grieved that it had been necessary to 
be severe with people so dear to his heart. Titus returned with the good 
news that the Corinthians had repented. Paul was elated! And in this 
"fourth" letter (better known as II Corinthians) he bared his soul as 
he related the problem he had bringing them to repentance. The Cor- 
inthians had repented, but evidently they were still "stand-offish" 
toward Paul. Perhaps they were afraid the apostle was still angry with 
them. They were still smarting from his rebukes and were determined 
they would not involve themselves emotionally with him so as to be 
hurt again. They would be christian "brothers" again, but not 
friends! But true repentance must result in reconciliation! 

So Paul shows that passion (earnest love) is part and parcel with 



254 



THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

the severity that produces repentance. Paul has already plead with 
them (see II Cor. 6:11-13) to "widen their hearts" to make room for 
him. He has already stated (6:11-13) that full reconciliation between 
them awaits only the restoration of their affections — not his. Now, 
after a brief parenthetical warning against an attitude of paganism, he 
repeats his fervent plea for a restored friendship. He says, "Open your 
hearts to us . . ." (Gr. Chroesate hemas, "contain us, or, make room 
for us"). The word "heart" is not in the text, but may be understood 
from the previous discussion (II Cor. 6:11-13). Had Paul never felt 
passionately attached to these Corinthians, he would never have 
rebuked them for their sins. He would not have cared whether they 
would repent or not. He would have justified himself expressing no in- 
terest in their reformation, and washed his hands of the entire matter. 
But Paul did not do that. He persisted. He kept on admonishing them 
until they changed their minds and their actions. And it was his love 
for them that made him persist! 

He begs them to make room for him in their hearts by considering 
that he (and his co-workers) had wronged (Gr. edikesamen, "treated 
unjustly or unfairly") no one; he had corrupted (Gr. ephtheiramen, 
"ruined") no one. The word ephtheiramen is a word signifying cor- 
rupting by means of false doctrine. Paul uses the same word in I Cor- 
inthians 15:33 to warn that evil homiletics (sermons teaching that 
there is no resurrection) corrupts good morals. No doubt there had 
been some in the church at Corinth accusing Paul of "corrupting" the 
church by his teaching in favor of christian liberty. The Judaizers 
would have been such accusers. At the same time, there would have 
been accusations by the Gnostic element that his teaching against sex- 
ual freedom would have a "corrupting" influence. Paul also reminds 
the Corinthians that he had not taken advantage of (Gr. 
epleonektesamen, lit. "seek to get more," or "defrauded") anyone. 
This Greek word is a compound of pleonexia which is translated 
"covetousness." He writes later in this same epistle that he had not 
"burdened" the Corinthian church by taking financial support from 
them (see II Cor. 12:13, 16, 17; and I Cor. 9:15-18). The Corinthians 
have been given no reason by Paul to "restrict their affections" 
toward him. 

Paul had no recrimination to make, although he might have been 
justified in doing so, He longed for repentance and reconciliation. He 



255 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

had already stated that the Corinthians were "in his heart" (6:11-13). 
And his affection for them was deep. He (and his co-workers) were 
ready to lay down their lives for the Corinthians. Paul's passion for 
these brethren leads him to have great confidence (Gr. polle parresia, 
"much boldness") on their behalf. He is able to be proud (Gr. polle 
kauchesis, "much boasting") of them to others. His only motive in 
producing repentance and reconciliation in them is to be able to 
"boast" of their spirituality — not his. He will take no credit for what 
they become. He will give credit to the Lord and to them. He is con- 
tent to be simply the unheralded instrument for the glory of God and 
their edification. As a matter of fact, he gave the Corinthians credit for 
having filled (Gr. pepleromai, perfect tense verb, past action with a 
continuing result) his life with strength (Gr. paraklesei, "paraclete, 
one called along side to strengthen"), and "overflowing" joy. It was 
Paul's passion for the good of his Corinthian brethren that gave 
augmentation to solving the problem of repentance. 

Preachers are plagued with the problems of repentance in those 
whom they serve because, unlike the apostle Paul, they frequently ap- 
proach the problem from a selfish perspective thinking only about 
their own image and not about building up their brethren. Preachers 
will simply have to "enlarge their hearts" (6:11-13) and make 
themselves vulnerable and be willing to suffer some "afflictions" if 
they are going to find the way to produce repentance in believer's 
lives. Preachers are going to have to faithfully and fairly preach un- 
corrupted doctrine with a passion for people's souls before repentance 
will ever come to fruition. Preachers must be willing to share their 
own life and death with their congregations if they wish to witness 
spiritual growth through repentance, Such passion, such love, will in- 
evitably produce repentance and reconciliation. 

7:5-7 Pathos: Any preacher who expects to call his congregation to 
repentance must have pathos. He must be able to empathize (enter in- 
to feelings of another) in the chastening, sorrow and spiritual trauma 
that accompanies personal repentance. Paul had pathos. His pathos 
or empathy did not come easily. He knew the stresses and pressures of 
inner spiritual struggle (see Rom. 7:13-25). He knew the "afflictions" 
of the body (I Cor. 9:24-27) necessary to maintain a life of repentance. 
He could "feel" with the Corinthians. When he was in Macedonia he, 
and his co-workers, experienced no physical rest and no spiritual or 



256 



THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

psychological rest, (see comments II Cor. 2:12-17). He was afflicted 
(Gr. thlibomenoi, "pressured") at every turn. Just what the "fighting 
without" was, we do not know. We would be safe in speculating that 
it had to do with the harassment of the Judaizers which was constant 
and vicious wherever Paul preached. The "fear within" is already 
described in 2:12-17. 

This pathos so necessary to augment a program of repentance in 
others does not come overnight. There is no such thing as "instant" 
empathy. Before we can really understand what others must endure to 
repent, we must have "walked a mile in their moccasins." Paul had 
walked more than his "mile" in the shoes of repentance (see II Cor. 
12:7ff). 

The apostle tells the Corinthians that the coming of Titus with the 
good news from Corinth had comforted (strengthened) him (7:6). But 
he also states that before Titus came he had been "downcast" (Gr. ta- 
peinous, "laid low, humiliated"). Paul had walked the penitent's path 
of humiliation and lowly-mindedness. He knew what the Corinthians 
suffered (humiliation) in their choice to repent. He also knew that 
God would strengthen those who were lowliminded enough to repent. 
Biblical history is replete with examples of penitent men whom God 
lifted up and strengthened — Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Nehemiah, Mordecai. It also provides a 
long list of impenitent men who went from bad to worse — Cain, 
Nimrod, King Saul, Absalom, Ahab, Belshazzar, Haman and a host 
of others. 

And what was the "good news" by which God strengthened the 
"downcast" apostle? First, it was the strengthening experience the 
penitent response of the Corinthians had upon Titus. Paul was so very 
glad to see the spiritual growth that had taken place in Titus as Titus had 
seen God's word work in the lives of the Corinthians. This is one of 
the most important ways by which a preacher finds the courage to go 
on striving to produce repentance — to see how manifested repentance 
brings about spiritual growth even in those merely observing it. 
Sincere, visible repentance elicits sober thinking and holy inclinations 
in everyone who is fortunate enough to be present when it happens! 
Paul saw its effects in Titus. That had an effect on Paul! 

When Titus told Paul that the Corinthians "vehemently desired" 
to see Paul (Gr. epipothesin); that they "lamented and wailed" (Gr. 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

odurmon) for him; that they were "zealous" (Gr. zelori) for him, then 
Paul rejoiced even more. How could a preacher rejoice more than 
"overflowing" (Gr. huperperisseuomai) (7:4)? But that is the extent 
to which a preacher must be willing to relate to or empathize with peo- 
ple in order to produce repentance in their lives and in his. 

7:8-9 Pain: Finally, preachers must understand that there is no 
repentance without some pain! Paul had written severe rebukes. He 
had called the Corinthians "childish" for their divisions; "arrogant" 
for their indifference to immorality; "shameful" and "incompetent" 
because they could not judge wrong-doers; "disgraceful" in their cor- 
porate worship about the Lord's table; "immature" in their use of 
spiritual gifts. All this in "First" Corinthians. We do not know how 
severe he was in the "unpreserved" letters he wrote, or in the personal 
confrontation he made with them. One thing we do know — while 
Paul was, at first, sorry he had to be so harsh, in the long run he did 
not regret (Gr. metamelomai) it. This shows the depth of Paul's love 
for the Corinthians. Paul knew what he had written and said would 
hurt, but he knew that the grief and the hurt were necessary. 

True love causes pain when it has to. God made the "Valley of 
Achor (Trouble)" a "door of hope" for Israel (Hosea2:15). The pro- 
phets of the Old Testament are clear that God chastens by hurting the 
rebellious in order to bring about repentance. We do not show love to 
someone by withholding the truth. Paul said to the Galatians, "Have I 
then become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Gal. 4:16). We 
often let people go on and on in sin, saying we love them too much to 
hurt them, but nothing is more self-deceptive. What we usually mean 
by such a statement is that we do not want to hurt ourselves] When a 
sinner is told the truth about his sins, he gets angry with the one who 
told him — no matter how sincere and loving the attempt to produce 
repentance. That hurts! No one likes rejection! Paul did not like it! 
But he was willing to endure it for the sake of the Corinthians. When 
we say, "Well, I just love him too much to hurt him," we are really 
kidding ourselves and saying we do not want to hurt ourselves. 

It is appropriate here to make some extended quotations from, 
The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis, pub. Macmillan Co. 

... the older type of nurse or parent was quite right in thinking that the 
first step in education is 'to break the child's will.' Their methods were 



258 



THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 



often wrong: but not to see the necessity is, I think, to cut oneself off 
from all understanding of spiritual laws. 

The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long 
as all seems to be well with it. 

. . . pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our 
pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His 
megaphone to rouse a deaf world. A bad man, happy, is a man without 
the least inkling that his actions do not 'answer,' that they are not in ac- 
cord with the laws of the universe. 

Until the evil man finds evil unmistakably present in his existence, in the 
form of pain, he is enclosed in illusion. Once pain has roused him, he 
knows that he is in some way or other 'up against' the real universe: he 
either rebels ... or else makes some attempt at an adjustment, which, 
if pursued, will lead him to religion. 

No doubt Pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead 
to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the 
bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag 
of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul. 

Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when 
everything is going well with us. 

When I think of pain — If I knew any way of escape I would crawl 
through sewers to find it ... I am not arguing that pain is not painful. 
Pain hurts. That is what the word means. I am only trying to show that 
the old Christian doctrine of being made 'perfect through suffering' is 
not incredible. 



We have commented on what Paul learned (see II Cor. 1:3-11) 
through affliction. That God "perfects" (brings to' the goal, fulfills) 
man through affliction, pain, suffering and tribulation is a primary 
doctrine of both Old and New Testaments. It began when God 
"cursed the earth for man's sake" (Gen. 3:17-18) and subjected the 
whole creation to futility (Rom. 8:18-25). It is the primary method 
God uses to bring this wicked world to repentance (Rom. l:18ff). 
Preachers must face the stark reality that there is no repentance 
without pain. Jesus clearly indicated that the way which leads to life is 



259 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

"narrow and difficult," He said it was "hard" for a rich man to enter 
the kingdom. Paul said we enter the kingdom through many tribula- 
tions (Acts 14:22). Peter and John in their epistles have much to say 
about suffering and tribulation necessary for a life of holiness. For 
more discussion of this see, Isaiah, Vol. II, Special Study entitled, The 
Three Dimensions of Discipline, by Paul T. Butler, pub. College 
Press. 

When you love a person you tell him the truth. But when you do 
you are risking his friendship for his first reaction will be one of hurt 
and defensiveness. If you are willing to make yourself vulnerable — to 
risk his friendship to tell him the truth, you demonstrate that you real- 
ly love him. Usually, over the long-haul, the fact that you love him 
will come through. 

Paul faithfully confronts the Corinthians with the truth. It hurt 
him to have to do it. It hurt them to hear it. But it was the beginning of 
their repentance and salvation. "For the moment all discipline seems 
painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of 
righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Heb. 12:11). 
Even the sinless Lord Jesus was brought to the goal ("perfected") for 
which God sent him into the world "through the things he suffered" 
(see Heb. 2:10; 5:7-9). The grief Paul's severity engendered is clearly 
stated to be the cause of their repentance (7:9). The apostle goes so far 
as to say he rejoiced that he brought them to grief because (Gr. hoti, 
causal conjunction "that") they were grieved unto (Gr. eis, preposi- 
tion "unto," sometimes used in a causal relation e.g. Matt. 12:41; 
Luke 11:32; Rom. 4:20; Acts 2:38) repentance. In other words the 
"pain" of Paul's severe words caused the Corinthians to move toward 
the change of mind and life called repentance. The Greek phrase, 
elupethete gar kata theon hina en medeni zemiothete ex hemon, reads 
literally, "for you were grieved according to God in order that in 
nothing you suffered loss from us." J.B. Phillips translates it, "In 
other words, the result was to make you sorry as God would have had 
you sorry, and not merely to make you offended by what we said." 
RSV translates kata theon as "godly grief." They were grieved in 
God's way — not in the way of the world or the devil. Apparently God 
has a way he wants man to be grieved in order that he may be brought 
to repentance. It is the preacher's job to find "God's way" to grieve 
people so they will repent! And God's way is not without pain! 



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THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

Section 2 

Action (7:10-11) 

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation 
and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. "For see 
what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what 
eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, 
what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you 
have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter. 

7:10 Repentance: It sounds pedantic to say the problem with 
repentance is to get people to repent. But that is precisely the problem. 
Too many people have either been misled about or do not want to 
know what Biblical repentance is. William Chamberlain writes that 
the popular concept of repentance "has been tragically shallow: it has 
been perverted into emotionalism or sacramentarianism . . . repen- 
tance has been almost exclusively associated with an emotional crisis 
of sorrow for sin and fear of punishment." Chamberlain goes on to 
say that a proper definition of the Greek word metanoeo "calls for a 
renovation of mind ... a complete change in mental outlook and of 
life design. . . ." But mere reformation of behavior is not the crucial 
matter in repentance. To lay stress on change of conduct or reforma- 
tion of behavior is to lead the minds of people away from the fact that 
metanoeo (repentance) deals primarily with the "springs of action," 
rather than with the actions themselves. Metanoeo deals with the 
source of our motives, not with conduct, or even with the motives 
themselves. The real meaning of the Greek word metanoeo began to 
be misunderstood when the New Testament was first translated into 
Latin (about 1500 A.D.) when the Greek word was translated into the 
Latin words, Poenitentiam agite, "Do penance." The Church began 
to think of so many acts of penitence to cancel a given amount of sin. 
The emphasis was put on feelings (remorse) and deeds (penance). The 
emphasis should have been, as the Greek word clearly shows, on 
"having the mind of Christ." i.e., a transformation of the mind (see 
Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 5:14-17). People may be sorry for their past and 
they may even reform certain outward ways of living, and still refuse 
to allow every thought (II Cor. 10:3-5) to be brought into captivity un- 



261 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

to obedience to Christ. Metanoeo means to allow Christ, through his 
expressed will in the New Testament, to take over our thinking. It 
means we think everything through the divine perspective. Our minds 
are no longer ours to think with as we please. Our thinking must 
please Christ. Tertullian said, "... the principle of voluntary obe- 
dience consists in similarity of minds." This is the crucial issue in the 
christian way of life: similarity of mind between God and his people. 
Before man can enter God's kingdom (the church) the thoughts of 
man must be aimed at becoming the thoughts of God. The principle of 
voluntary obedience in the Kingdom rests on similarity of mind be- 
tween God and his people. True metanoeo (repentance) has little to do 
with the emotions. It is a mental metamorphosis. It is conforming 
one's thinking to God's revealed mind (the Bible) in spite of 'how one 
"feels" about it. 

The Greek words ergazetai and katergazetai in verse 10 are both 
translated "produces." The words literally mean, "works out" thus 
indicating that the "grief" Paul caused by his severe words to the Cor- 
inthians "worked" repentance instead of having "worked" death. 
The difference is simply that the Corinthians were "grieved according 
to the way of God" ("godly grief"). Here it is plain that repentance 
involves more than merely being sorry for sin. Being sorry produces 
metanoian (repentance). Grief according to God's way "works" 
repentance which brings no regret (Gr. ametameleton, remorse). That 
is because repentance (conformity to the revealed mind of God) brings 
the experience of reconciliation, forgiveness, sonship, spiritual growth 
and freedom. Repentance starts with grief (within the limits of God's 
will) but blossoms into joyful salvation. 

Worldly (Gr. kosmou cosmic) grief works out of death because it 
becomes a substitute for true repentance or metanoeo (change of 
thinking). Worldly grief is being sorry for sin but unwilling to think 
about things as God thinks about them. Worldly grief wants to make 
reconciliation happen on the basis of emotion and not a changed men- 
tality. Worldly grief regrets being caught in sin and having to suffer 
the consequences, vowing not to change the mind about sin, but vow- 
ing to be smarter, more self-sufficient, and not to be caught again. 
Worldly grief is the grief of the criminal mind. Worldly grief starts 
with hurt, but it is a mixture of anger and self-pity. It causes a person 
to either retreat into morbid self-judgment and eventually into suicide 



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THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

(both physical and spiritual) or to rise up in self-justification, fight 
and strike back to get revenge. 

Repentance is clearly an action. It is not something that happens to 
you. You make it happen. It is an exercise of the human will that 
brings the human thinking processes into conformity to the will of 
Christ. Once that is accomplished, human actions are altered to con- 
form to the revealed will of Christ. God offers his help through his 
Holy Spirit (the "Comforter") to every human being willing to make 
such a change. But Christ will not overpower any human's will and 
force him to think God's thoughts (see Rev. 3:19-22; John 7:17; Psa. 
25:14). Repentance is not an irresistible work of the Spirit. All 
through the Bible God's messengers lay the responsibility for repen- 
tance squarely upon man himself (see Acts 17:30-31). 

7:11 Righteousness: How does one make his grief over sin produce 
repentance unto salvation instead of death? In this verse Paul gives 
clear-cut indications of whether one's hurt is a godly or worldly grief. 
The indicator is one's reaction to being hurt. When these Corinthians 
received the severe rebuke of the apostle Paul they reacted with 
earnestness (Gr. spoude, diligence, carefulness). This earnestness is a 
manifestation of metanoeo (change of mentality). They did not react 
emotionally, superficially, but with deliberation. This is the righteous 
(right) way to react — God's way. Next, they reacted with eagerness to 
clear themselves (Gr. apologian, from which we get the English words 
apology, apologetic, meaning "to make defense"). In this context it is 
clear Paul does not mean the Corinthians were arrogantly defending 
themselves against any need to change — they were not self- 
righteously justifying themselves. Godly grief had worked in them an 
eagerness to get all differences between themselves and God, between 
themselves and Paul, out in the open {apologia) and sincerely work 
toward the repentance that brings reconciliation. Next, their godly 
grief produced in them indignation (Gr. aganaktesin, vexation, anger, 
much grief). They were not indignant toward Paul — but toward 
themselves. They manifested shame for their past which moved them 
beyond self-pity to self-abnegation. And, even beyond self- 
abnegation, indignation usually produces a corrective attitude and ac- 
tion. Along with indignation, their hurt worked in them alarm (Gr. 
phobon, "fear"). This was, of course, godly fear. Godly fear is the 
very beginning of wisdom. It is a state of mind synonymous with 



263 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

repentance. It is the beginning of thinking God's way. Paul's hurting 
words, which caused them to rearrange their thinking to God's way of 
thinking, produced in them longing (Gr. epipothesin, great yearning) 
for the one who had "hurt" them! That is evidence of redirected 
thinking! He mentions again the impression their "zeal" for him had 
made on him. 

Finally, the righteous reaction of the Corinthians termed "punish- 
ment" is listed by Paul as proof of their metanoeo (change of mind). 
The Greek word ekdikesin is translated "revenge" in the KJV and 
"avenging of wrong" in the NASV. For other N.T. usages see Luke 
18:7, 8; Acts 7:24; Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30; II Thess. 1:8; Luke 21:22; 
I Pet. 2:14, etc. The punishment the Corinthians had finally ad- 
ministered to the immoral man (see I Cor. 5: Iff) and to the one who 
was causing division and slandering Paul (see II Cor. 2:5-11) was visi- 
ble evidence of their change of mind. Earlier they had been arrogantly 
indifferent to the need for such punishment. But they have changed 
their mind and disciplined the wrong doers. They have conformed 
their thinking (and, consequently, their actions) to the will of God as 
revealed by the apostle. Christ told the church at Thyatira that it must 
change its mind about "tolerating" the "woman Jezebel" (Rev. 
3 : 1 9-29) or he would give to each of them as their works deserved. The 
apostle Paul instructed several churches they needed to change their 
minds about disciplining the factious, lazy and immoral members. 
Repentance within the church remains a crucial problem that con- 
tinues to plague preachers and elders and church members. There is 
only one divine solution; know the Bible and practice the Bible. Paul 
the preacher, and one of his congregations, Corinth, did so and solved 
the problem of repentance! They proved themselves mentally changed 
(penitent) in every point of the matter (Gr. pragmati, practice) being 
discussed by the apostle. This blessed Paul's ministry with joy 
overflowing ! 



Section 3 
Aftermath (7:12-16) 

12 So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one 

264 



THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who suffered the 
wrong, but in order that your zeal for us might be revealed to 
you in the sight of God. "Therefore we are comforted. 

And besides our own comfort we rejoiced still more at the joy 
of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by you all. 14 For if 
I have expressed to him some pride in you, I was not put to 
shame; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our 
boasting before Titus had proved true. 15 And his heart goes out 
all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, 
and the fear and trembling with which you received him. 16 I re- 
joice, because I have perfect confidence in you. 

7:12-13a Revelation: Repentance (orientation of the mind toward 
God's way of thinking) produces spiritual discoveries! Paul says, 
"The real reason I wrote those severe things which caused you grief 
was to bring you to a revelation of just how much you love me as we 
are in God." Paul had the ultimate benefit of the Corinthians in mind 
when he had to be harsh with them. When they repented, it proved 
who they were! The reason they had been arrogant and indifferent 
toward the wickedness going on amongst them was they had forgotten 
who and whose they were. Going through the experience of repen- 
tance inevitably produces an awareness that one is a child of God. 
"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Rom. 
8:1-17). 

The chastening and discipline which leads to repentance and ' 'the 
peaceable fruit of righteousness" is the experience that confirms we 
are sons of God (see Heb. 12:5-11; I Cor. 11:32; I Pet. 4:12-19; Rev. 
3:19). The classic illustration of repentance revealing sonship is the 
Parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1 Iff). It was the moment the 
prodigal "came to himself" and changed his mind about the value of 
the "far country" and set his mind on his father's house that he 
became aware of who he really was! 

When the Corinthians were brought up short by Paul's severe 
rebuking they began to grieve God's way and rediscovered their strong 
affection for Paul in the Lord. There are three factors working 
together to produce a repentance which confirms that a person is a 
child of God: (1) The Holy Spirit working his will through his Word 
(the Scriptures); (2) the surrender of the human will to the 



265 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

authoritative leading of the Holy Spirit; (3) the preachers or messengers 
through whom the Holy Spirit ministers his Word. William 
Chamberlain puts it, "Somehow, a creative activity of God works 
through the message of a crucified Saviour, preached by sinning men 
to a world in sin and revolt, and so God changes the minds of men 
from the mind of the flesh to the mind of Christ. This is too wonderful 
to understand, but we see it operate wherever a crucified Saviour is 
presented by men who have experienced his grace. God provides the 
initiative, the dynamic, and the means; man responds; and repentance 
is the result." Repentance (change of mind to conform to God's way) 
gives divine perspective to everything! It is as if a dark veil were lifted 
— as if blind eyes were suddenly given sight. History, life, origins, 
destinies, relationships, and things are "seen" in the light of the 
future glory for the sons of God. Repentance is more than sorrow for 
sin — it is more than reformed behavior. It is a renewed mind. 

7:13b-14 Relief: The godly change in the Corinthians was a great 
blessing to Titus. Paul rejoiced at the joy of Titus because"his mind 
has been set at rest by you all." The Greek word anapepautai is a 
combined word in the perfect tense and might be translated, "being 
completely put at rest in the past and continues to be at rest." And it 
was Titus' spirit (Gr. pneuma) which the RSV equates with "mind." 
His spirit was put completely at rest. 

It was a great relief to Titus when the Corinthians manifested they 
were thinking according to God again. Titus was going to be sent back 
to Corinth to complete the arrangements for the collection for the 
poor brethren in Judea. Besides, when Paul's character was being 
maligned, Titus' mind and heart would be troubled. Titus was Paul's 
"true child in a common faith" (Titus 1:4). Paul's affection for Titus 
and trust in him are unquestionable. The same would be true of Titus 
toward Paul. 

Their repentance was a great relief to Paul. It is probable that 
Titus had undertaken the mission to Corinth with Paul's "severe" let- 
ter with some misgivings but had been encouraged by the boasts of 
Paul that the Corinthians would repent and be reconciled. Paul was 
relieved that Titus had seen that come true. He would not want this 
young evangelist to experience failure by witnessing impenitence. 
There are enough disillusionments and discouragements for young 
preachers in the world without having to suffer the disillusionment of 



266 



THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

seeing impenitence in the lives of the children or God! 

A repenting church will be a church at rest! What the church of 
Christ needs in this day more than anything else — more than 
cathedrals, causes, and collections — is repentance. Congregations in- 
stitute programs for every aspect of ministry except repentance. Have 
you ever heard of a congregation implementing "a program for repen- 
tance"? Yet repentance is the thrust of every epistle written by an 
apostle to a congregation. Repentance is the exclusive theme of 
Christ's program for the seven churches of Asia Minor to prepare them 
for facing their confrontation with "the beast, the false prophet, and 
the harlot." When John the Baptist and Jesus preached the gospel it 
was "repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." 

As William Chamberlain concludes, "The Church must redefine 
its task. We have had too much preaching that dealt out mild 
homeopathic doses of ethical exhortation or sought to establish a 
social utopia by ignoring the fundamental need for a complete change 
in the mind and heart of mankind. Jesus and John . . . began with 
this need. The Kingdom was at hand, they proclaimed, and that called 
for a complete metamorphosis of the mind of man. . . . The Apostle 
Paul reminds us that our task is to capture the mind of man. This in- 
cludes the subconscious mind. . . . The Church must be told that 
becoming a Christian requires a new set of values, a new pattern for 
life, a new mind. If one's thoughts begin and end with one's personal 
convenience and desires, one is disqualified for Christian living. The 
preacher must keep reminding the Church that it must become Chris- 
tian in its ideals, its desires, and its aspirations before it can become 
Christian in its practice, for the conduct of man hinges on his thought 
life. A pagan bent in one's thoughts gives a pagan tilt to one's life." 

7:15-16 Reconciliation: Titus' troubled spirit was not only put at 
rest, but "his heart went out to" the Corinthians all the more. The 
Greek word translated "heart" is splagchna often translated 
"bowels" in KJV. It means "gut feelings" or "deep, innermost affec- 
tions." Titus was "moved" emotionally by this experience. Today, 
while the Church is "moved" by musical performances, or humorous 
speakers, it is often indifferent and sometimes chagrined at any ac- 
complishment of true repentance — not merely a show of sorrow — a 
manifested change of thinking. 

What moved Titus emotionally was the obedience (Gr. hupakoen, 



267 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

hearing, obeying) of the Corinthians. The Corinthians were grieved 
with a godly grief. But it was not their sorrow which impressed Titus 
— it was their obedience! In most cases today, people get emotional 
over seeing the emotions of others on display. But the impact the Cor- 
inthians had on Titus and Paul was due to their display of obedience. 
Obedience is what impresses the Lord, too! (see I Sam. 15:22-23; Heb. 
11:7, 8; Gen. 22:10-12; Rom. 1:5; 16:19, 26; Heb. 5:8-9, etc.). The 
fruition of repentance is obedience. 

Another thing that impressed Titus about the Corinthians was the 
"fear and trembling" with which they received him. The Greek words 
used are phobou from which we get the English word phobia (fear), 
and tromou, which is the noun form of the Greek verb tremo (English, 
tremor, tremble). Does is seem unchristian for Paul to be rejoicing 
that the Corinthians responded to Titus' message with phobia and 
timidity? How many christians do you know who respond to exhorta- 
tions to repent with fear and trembling? Usually the reaction to scrip- 
tural rebuke, especially if it is "severe," is first anger, then defen- 
siveness or self-justification, and finally retaliation. But what Titus 
saw in the Corinthians was godly grief, obedience, fear and trembling. 
What a difference! It is the difference between repentance and rebellion, 
between righteousness and ungodliness; it is the difference between 
christian and hypocrite. We have discussed the imperative part the 
"fear of God" plays in the perfection of holiness in christian 
character (see notes on 7:1). Paul adds here the part "fear" plays in 
repentance. Fear plays a very significant part in holy conduct (see I 
Pet. 1:15-17). What Titus reported made Paul write, "I am rejoicing 
because I am having confidence (Gr. tharro, boldness, courage) in you 
in everything." Reconciliation has taken place. Full restoration of af- 
fection and brotherly love is made because the Corinthians decided to 
think God's way, and Paul's heart is overflowing. 

So, Paul the preacher found himself with a problem about repen- 
tance. He faced it squarely, honestly and faithfully. His passion for 
the Corinthians, his pathos for their need, and his willingness to risk 
their friendship when he knew only pain would augment repentance 
helped him provide the solution to the problem. What resulted was 
true repentance (change from the mind of the flesh to the mind of 
Christ) and righteous behavior from the Corinthians. And the bless- 
ings which came (self-revelation, relief, and rejoicing) gave Paul, 



268 



THE PROBLEM OF REPENTANCE 

Titus and the congregation at Corinth a "taste of the goodness of the 
word of God and the powers of the age to come . , ." (Heb. 6:4-5). 
The kingdom of God was theirs (Matt. 5:3-13). 

APPREHENSION: 

1. What is repentance? 

2. Why did Paul have to remind the Corinthians that he had not 
taken advantage of them? 

3. What affliction did Paul have in Macedonia? Why was he in 
Macedonia? 

4. What is the meaning of "downcast"? 

5. How did the "comfort" Titus had help Paul? 

6. How did Paul make the Corinthians "sorry" with his letter? 

7. Why was he not sorry he had made them sorry? 

8. What is "godly grief"? 

9. What is "worldly grief"? 

10. How did the Corinthians prove they had repented? 

1 1 . What did Paul plan would be revealed to the Corinthians by his 
severe letter? 

12. What did the repentance of the Corinthians do for Titus? 

13. What did the Corinthians do that made Titus "deeply emotional" 
toward them? 

14. Why did the Corinthians react to Paul's message with "fear and 
trembling"? 



APPLICATION: 

1. If repentance is essentially a change of thinking so as to think 
God's thoughts, what should preaching and Sunday School 
teaching focus on? 

2. Do you see your preacher as seeking you to "open your heart" to 
him? 

3 . Have you opened your heart to him? Has he opened his heart to 
you? 

4. Do you think of your minister as one who has "walked in your 

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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

shoes"? 

5. Would it help you to repent if he reassured you that he has or is 
walking there? 

6. When you find you have had to repent (change your mind) about 
something from God's word, does it draw you closer to your 
preacher? How? 

7. How do you react to your preacher, your Sunday School teacher, 
or your spouse when they "make you sorry" about your favorite 
sin? 

8. Have you ever had the courage to "hurt" someone with truth in 
order to bring them to repentance? Are you willing to be "hurt" 
in return for "hurt" if it produces repentance? Why? 

9. Have you ever been sorry about a mistake without changing your 
thinking about it being a mistake? 

10. Do you think the church needs to change its thinking today about 
church discipline? Why? How? 

1 1 . How would you suggest the church could institute a program for 
repentance today? What areas in congregational life need repen- 
tance? 

12. Are there places in your church that could be put at rest by repen- 
tance? People? 

13. Have you ever been emotionally touched by someone's obedience 
to Christ's word? What was it? How did you feel? 

14. Do you think a congregation obeying would have more impact on 
others than a church entertaining? 

15. Do you react with "fear and trembling" when God's messenger 
delivers a message of God about repentance to you? 



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Chapter Eight 

THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 
(8:1-24) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Does God expect people to give "beyond their means"? 

2. What is the point at which one "excels" in benevolence? 

3. If the "readiness" is in our heart is that acceptable whether we give 
or not? 

4. Why should administrators of what has been given be 
"blameless"? 

5. Paul mentions twice that giving is a "proof of love"? Is it? 



SECTION 1 

Commitment (8:1-7) 

We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God 
O which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a 
severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their ex- 
treme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their 
part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, 
and beyond their means, of their own free will, "begging us 
earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the 
saints — 5 and this, not as we expected, but first they gave 
themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. According- 
ly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, 
he should also complete among you this gracious work. 7 Now as 
you excel in everything — in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in 
all earnestness, and in your love for us — see that you excel in this 
gracious work also. 

8:1-2 Poverty No Problem: Call it "giving," "benevolence," or 
"finances," the problem is stewardship. While Paul had no steward- 
ship problem with the brethren in Macedonia, he may have had one 
with the brethren in Corinth. He gave them directions about steward- 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ship in First Corinthians (I Cor. 16:1-4). Now, in Second Corinthians, 
he urges them to imitate the Macedonians and fulfill (v. 6, Gr. 
epitelese, "complete, fulfill, finish") what they had said they desired 
to do and had actually begun to do in the matter of stewardship 
(benevolence) toward the Judean brethren. 

It is one of the major problems of the ministry to get believers to 
actually become stewards of God. It is not as much of a problem to get 
people to "give" as it is to get them involved in stewardship (manage- 
ment) of God's grace. Stewardship and giving are not synonymous 
terms. The Greek word translated stewardship is oikonomia, and 
means literally, "keeper of the house," or "manager." It came to 
mean, "the discharge of a commission." We may not be able to con- 
ceive of stewardship apart from giving, but we certainly have seen giv- 
ing that was not a part of good stewardship. About one-third of the 
parable of Jesus deal with some aspect of stewardship. In the New 
Testament idea of stewardship, christians are "managers" of the 
grace of God. They are responsible not only for what is given but also 
for where or to what cause it is given. They are responsible not only 
for what is given, but also for what is kept and how it is used. They are 
responsible and will be held accountable by the God of all grace. 

While the precise Greek word oikonomia (stewardship) never 
comes into our text in II Corinthians 8 and 9, the principles of 
stewardship are clearly enumerated. Although there is something of a 
special nature to the offering Paul is discussing in our text, the prin- 
ciples stated are enduring and should be applied to every aspect of the 
church and the believer. What Paul is urging in II Corinthians 8 and 9 
is simply a continuation of his "directions" (Gr. dietaxa, "command, 
ordain, prescribe, charge") in I Corinthians 16:1-4! Make no mistake, 
stewardship, giving, benevolence is an apostolic commandl What 
Paul says in II Corinthians "not as a command" is how much is to be 
given. Nowhere in the New Testament are christians told precise 
amounts to be given. Tithing is not a New Testament ordinance. 
Tithing is not a worthy ideal for a christian. Stewardship involves 100 
percent of a christian's "possessions" — not just one-tenth. 

The christians in Judea were poor. First, they had been 
"plundered" by their Hebrew persecutors (see Heb. 10:32-34). Sec- 
ond, the land of Palestine was economically the poorest in the whole 
Roman empire. Third, Palestine was over-populated with Hebrew and 



272 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

christian pilgrims. One of the earliest problems of the church in 
Jerusalem was the equitable feeding of the widows (Acts 6: 1). Early in 
the history of the spread of Christianity, the christians at Antioch sent 
relief to the church at Jerusalem by the hands of Barnabas and Saul 
(Acts 11:29), because of a fourth circumstance — widespread famine. 
The leaders of the Jerusalem church asked Paul to "remember the 
poor" (Gal. 2:10) whenever he preached in Judea. 

So, when Paul began his third missionary journey, he planned to 
raise as large an offering from the Gentiles in Asia Minor and Greece 
as he could carry back to Judea to care for the destitute christians 
there. 

Paul's statement to the church at Corinth (I Cor. 16:1-4) mention- 
ing the church of Galatia, indicates his plan for the offering was 
already well known by the time he wrote to Corinth. Paul mentions 
the collection to the church at Rome in the epistle he wrote to them 
while residing at Corinth (Rom. 15:25-26). "Paul's collection" was 
widely known. When Paul left Corinth a number of men accompanied 
him. The book of Acts does not say that these men were taking up the 
collection, but it would seem that this was the reason for their going. 
'The "committee" consisted of: "Sopater of Beroea, the son of Pyr- 
rhus; of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of 
Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus" (Acts 
20:4). 

The apostle knew how destitute the Judeans were. He wanted to 
carry back to them an offering substantial enough to fulfill the need. 
Corinth was one of the wealthier cities in the Roman empire and con- 
tained some men of substance in the membership of the church. Paul 
was much concerned that they would respond liberally to the appeal so 
he holds before them the almost incredible example of the Macedo- 
nians. 

It seems strange that Paul never uses the word "stewardship" in 
this discussion. It is apparent that he uses the Greek word charin, 
"grace" as a synonym. He uses this word "grace" nine times (8:1, 4, 
7, 9, 16, 19; 9:8, 14, 15). Everything a human being has in this world is 
granted him by the grace of God. God owns everything but he grants 
each of us a portion to "manage" for his profit (glory). Whatever we 
"give" to others really is not ours (I Chron. 29:949), but belongs to 
God. So Paul says, "We want you to know, brethren, about the grace 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

of God which as been given (Gr. dedomenen, "has been given," not 
"shown" as in the RSV) among the churches of Macedonia." 
Whenever we give, we give the grace of God. We are "managers" 
(stewards) of the grace of God. In all his parables of stewardship Jesus 
taught plainly that the steward possessed nothing of his own — he 
simply managed what belonged to the "householder," or the 
"master." 

Macedonia is generally the territory lying between the Balkan 
highlands and the Greek peninsula. It was both a Greek kingdom and 
a Roman province. The population was Indo-European, but of mixed 
tribal elements of which the Dorian (people from Balkan highlands 
north of Greece) stock was probably a strong ingredient. Plummer 
records the fact that the Romans had been very hard on the Macedo- 
nians expropriating their richest sources of income — the gold and 
silver mines — and taxing the right to smelt the minerals. They had 
also reserved to themselves the trade in salt, timber, and shipbuilding. 
All of this had reduced the territory to deep poverty. Added to the 
burdens of the christians were the various persecutions which they had 
experienced. Yet they, of all Paul's churches, were most generous in 
their support of him (at least the church at Philippi which was in the 
Macedonian province — see Phil. 4:10-19). Paul says the churches of 
Macedonia "gave the grace of God" during a "severe test" (Gr. polle, 
"much;" and dokime, "proof, trial', examination") of "affliction" 
(Gr. thlipseos, "pressure, crushing, squeezed"). Paul mentions these 
severe afflictions in his letter to the Thessalonians (I Thess. 2:14-16). 

Under these extreme privations and tensions the Macedonians 
found enough of God's grace (Gr. charas "joy") available to them to 
"overflow" (Gr. eperisseusen, extensive abundance) "in a wealth of 
liberality" (Gr. eis to ploutos tes haplotetos). The Greek word 
haplotetos is translated "liberality" and means, literally, "uncondi- 
tionally, sincerely, unaffectedly, honestly, singlemindedly. " Their 
response was one of honest stewards — they concealed nothing, held 
back nothing. And this they did under circumstances of "extreme 
poverty" (Gr. bathous ptocheia). The Greek word bathos is, literally, 
"deep" (from it we get the English words bath, bathe, bathometer), 
and the Greek word ptocheia is the same word as the one Matthew 
used to record Jesus' statement, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). Paul uses the word 



274 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

"poverty" (eptocheusen) in 8:9 to characterize the way Jesus divested 
himself of his heavenly glory so that believers might become rich (Gr. 
ploutesete, "plutocratic"). The word ptocheia is often translated 
simply, "poor," as in the case of the "poor" widow (Mark 12:41-44), 
and the "poor" beggar (Luke 16:19-20). Ptocheia means more than 
underprivileged or unprosperous or lacking — it means "poverty- 
stricken," "bankrupt," "destitute," and "impoverished." 

Paul urges the Corinthians to respond like the Macedonians. Not 
even "extreme poverty" presented a problem to the Macedonians 
because they responded on the basis of stewardship and not merely on 
the basis of "taking up an offering." Whether there was a problem in 
this area in the Corinthian church or not, the apostle urges the exam- 
ple of stewardship by the Macedonians as the christian standard of 
"giving." Only commitment to the New Testament ordinance of 
stewardship will solve the financial problem of the church — not 
' 'tithing , ' ' not "collections ." And the financial problem of the church 
is not fundamentally the amount of money or property it does not 
have or may have; the basic problem with christians and their finan- 
cial responses to Christ is in the area of motives — reasons and pur- 
poses for giving. Essentially, the problem is that of surrender and 
commitment to the will of God as he has expressed it in his Word. 
God's word clearly demands cheerful, honest, wise, accountable 
stewardship of one hundred percent of one's worldly possessions. 
Even the "poverty-stricken" are responsible for good stewardship! 

8:3-5 Participation, the Point: The point in christian stewardship is 
not how much, but why! Paul testified (Gr. marturo, "witnessed as in 
a court of law") from first-hand, personal, eye-witnessed knowledge 
that the Macedonians gave according to their ability (Gr. dunamin, 
power, capability, dynamic). Indeed, they gave beyond (Gr. para, 
preposition meaning "beyond, extended, over") their ability! To what 
extent does one give in order to give "beyond" one's ability? The 
Biblical answer to that may be found in the actual event Jesus ob- 
served in the Jewish temple one day when a Hebrew widow (Mark 
12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4), "out of her poverty . . . put in everything she 
had, her whole living." This Hebrew widow extended herself in giving 
to the Lord to the ultimate — "all that she had to live by." She gave 
"two mites" (about 60 cents in American currency today) while the 
rich put in "bags" (probably hundreds of dollars worth) of coins. Yet 



275 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

she put in more than all of them put together, in God's eyes, because 
she gave up her livelihood so far as she was able, at that moment, to 
sustain it (see The Gospel of Luke, by Paul T. Butler, pp. 467-470, 
pub. College Press). Is that not extreme? Is that not exceptional? Is 
that not beyond what Christ requires of the normal christian life? Did 
the widow of Elijah's experience (I Kgs. 17:12-16) think so? Did Jesus 
think so? (see Matt. 19:23-30; Luke 14:33). Did the Macedonians 
think so? Did Paul think so? (see Phil. 4:10-13, etc.). Of course, the 
Bible says the laborer is worthy of his hire. And the Bible says the one 
who will not provide for his own (family) is worse than a heathen (I 
Tim. 5:8). It also says we are to "earn our own living" (II Thess. 
3:12). There were other rich followers of Jesus who were never 
specifically challenged to "sell all they had" in order to give to the 
poor. When Judas insisted that a costly vial of myrrh could have been 
sold and the proceeds given to the poor, Jesus rebuked him and said, 
"the poor you have with you always ..." (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 
14:3-9; John 12:1-8). But Jesus does teach us that we should be ready, 
at any moment, to give everything we have, including our very lives, 
upon demand, in his service. He does command us that we are to live 
one day at a time without anxiety (divided-mindedness) and to pray 
daily for our bread (Matt. 6:1-34). Whatever a christian has left over 
from daily needs he must commit (surrender), as an honest and wise 
steward, to the Master's use. It is normal (Biblically speaking) that 
the christian not lay up for himself treasures on earth, (see Matt. 
6:19-21; I Tim. 6:17-19; Luke 16:8-9; 12:13-21). The Macedonians 
were following the normal requirements of christian stewardship when 
they gave, "of their own free will" (Gr. authairetoi), and beyond their 
ability. They gave when they "couldn't afford it" because that is what 
a christian steward is to do when the Lord's service requires it. They 
gave what they had and trusted the Lord to supply what they needed. 
What is so incredible about the giving of the Macedonians (8:4) is 
expressed in the Greek text, meta polles parakleseos deomenoi, literal- 
ly, "with much begging, requesting. . . ." They begged to give! In cir- 
cumstances of affliction and severe poverty, they begged and re- 
quested "the favor" (Gr. charin, "grace") of giving! They were not 
doing Paul or the destitute Judeans a favor — they were asking for a 
favor — TO GIVE! They really believed Jesus' promise, "It is more 
blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:38). They plead with Paul for 



276 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

the privilege to give because they wanted to participate in (Gr. koino- 
nian, share, commune, participate, fellowship) the "relief" (Gr. 
diakonias, ministry, deaconship) toward the "saints" (Gr. hagious, 
holy ones) for Judea. Perhaps more christians would "beg" to give if 
it could be communicated to them that they actually were sharing in 
the ministry of Christ through those "full-time" servants (preachers, 
missionaries, teachers, and others) who administer the gifts and grace 
of God. 

What the Macedonians did was beyond the expectations of Paul 
and his co-laborers. Paul was surprised that these brethren could give 
beyond their ability out of "deep poverty." People, in deep poverty 
themselves, begging for the favor of giving, giving beyond what they 
could afford to give, will surprise almost any christian today! If it 
were not written by a man (Paul) whose veracity is unquestionable and 
under the claimed inerrancy of the Holy Spirit of God, what the 
Macedonians did would be unbelievable! While such stewardship is 
the theological norm taught in the New Testament, it is not the prac- 
ticed norm in the church today! And that is so because most christians 
have not fully given themselves to the Lord. 

The secret of such unimaginable giving of one's possessions is that 
first (Gr. proton, firstly) they gave themselves. There was not one iota 
of selfishness in these Macedonian christians because they had given 
up self to Jesus. They considered themselves as no longer belonging to 
themselves, but unto Christ who had purchased them. They were his, 
totally, for he had bought them with his atoning death. They were 
"sold out" to God's will. It was not ever what they wanted anymore, 
but what Christ wanted (see Gal. 2:20-21; 6:14). They could behave as 
their Judean brethren had earlier when, "... the company of those 
who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of 
the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in 
common," (Acts 4:32). That kind of total surrender of self requires 
dauntless, courageous faith in God's veracity. It is important to notice 
that the Macedonians gave themselves. God did not force them to sur- 
render to him to any degree. God worked no irresistible power to over- 
whelm their will. They gave themselves. They could have done other- 
wise. But they chose to give themselves to the Lord and to Paul 
through (Gr. dia) the will of God. That is, they chose the will of God 
in place of their own will. And that is the very essence of salvation in 



277 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Christ. Men must be saved from their own willfulness by surrendering 
in faith to the will of Christ which is revealed inerrantly, completely 
and finally in the Scriptures. Until a man surrenders his will to Christ 
he lives enslaved to the exercise of his will directed toward eternal 
rebellion, falsehood, and banishment from God. Until he surrenders 
his will to Jesus he follows ". . .the course of this world, following 
the prince of the power of the air, the spirit now at work in the sons of 
disobedience" (Eph. 2:1-2). Christ accepts no half-hearted, double- 
minded, hypocritical relationships. Those who wish to inherit his pro- 
mises must give themselves completely to his grace. Since few ever 
enter by this "narrow" and "difficult" gate (as the Macedonians 
evidently had) it is so extraordinary the rest of mankind can hardly 
believe it. 

8:6-7 Perfection, the Purpose: Titus had already started this "faith 
promise rally." Now he would be sent back to Corinth to bring this 
"ministry" to its completion (Gr. epitelese, from teleioo, "to finalize, 
to bring something to its goal or aim, to fulfill"). This request for an 
offering from the Corinthians had as its "goal" a "work of grace" 
upon the Corinthians themselves. Actually, the Greek text does not 
have the word "work" in verse 6; it literally reads, ". . . he should 
complete among you the grace, this one." "Gracious work" is a pro- 
per translation — but "this act of grace" might be an even better 
translation. The "goal" of giving in such a totally unselfish way is to 
cultivate the virtue or character of grace in the giver. Giving out of ex- 
treme poverty, begging to give, in order to participate in the ministry 
of God to destitute people, is character-building] Such giving is at the 
very core of spirituality. There is no possibility of any mercenary 
greed as a motive. There is no hypocrisy involved in such selflessness. 
There is nothing more spiritual than stewardship surrendered to Christ 
as it was demonstrated by the Macedonians helping the Judeans. 

One of the major problems a preacher faces in the ministry of the 
gospel is christians who criticize him for emphasizing stewardship. 
Some christians think such emphasis is "worldly" and "unspiritual." 
But it is doubtful, in the light of so much teaching in the New Testa- 
ment about it, that anyone can be spiritual unless he faces up to and 
fulfills Christ's calling to honest, total, cheerful, and wise steward- 
ship. 

Paul insisted the Corinthian christians "see to it" that they excel 



278 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

(Gr. perisseuete, present tense, "continuing action," "abounding") 
in the christian virtue ("grace") of benevolence. Paul had earlier 
reminded the Corinthians of God's grace bestowed upon them. "I 
give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which 
was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in 
him with all speech and all knowledge ... so that you are not lacking 
in any spiritual gift" (I Cor. 1:4-/7). The Corinthian christians spent a 
great deal of their time boasting about and making comparisons con- 
cerning these spiritual gifts. They desired to "excel" in them (especial- 
ly the more spectacular "tongues" see I Corinthians chapters 12, 13, 
14). Paul insisted he could show them a "more excellent" way to prac- 
tice their faith and glorify God — LOVE (I Cor. 12:31). So in these 
two chapters (II Cor. 8 & 9) he specifies how the "more excellent" 
way of love might be expressed — STEWARDSHIP! (II Cor. 8:8, 24). 
Christians should strive to excel in giving, in stewardship, rather than 
clamoring after the "showy" (really, immature) demonstrations. How 
many "excellent" givers are in your congregation? What is an ex- 
cellent giver? In the church today we have "excellent" singers, 
preachers, teachers, callers, prayers, administrators, attenders, and a 
dozen other "excellencies" — but/ew "excellent" givers. To be an ex- 
cellent giver one has to exceed the norm. Paul is talking about being 
extraordinary in giving. And, remember, he is talking about the 
Macedonians, who, in circumstances of extreme affliction and deep 
poverty, were examples of "excellence" in giving! The apostles left 
everything they had and followed Jesus (Matt. 19:27); the widow of 
Zarepath gave all she had to live on to Elijah (I Kgs. 17:8ff); Jesus left 
everything he had in heaven and became poor for our sake. It was 
done. It can still be done! But it requires extraordinary faith! And ex- 
traordinary faith is God's goal for all believers. He wants to transform 
every believer into the image of his son (Rom. 8:29). 



Section 2 

Credibility (8:8-15) 

8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness 
of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace 

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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your 
sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become 
rich. 10 And in this matter I give my advice: it is best for you now 
to complete what a year ago you began not only to do but to 
desire, "so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by 
your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is 
there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not accord- 
ing to what he has not. 13 I do not mean that others should be 
eased and you burdened, 14 but that as a matter of equality your 
abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that 
their abundance may supply your want, that there may be 
equality. 15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing 
over, and he who gathered little had no lack." 

8:8-9 Piqued: Paul wants the Corinthians to give credibility to 
their professions of christian faith and love. They have promised to 
send financial help to their destitute brethren in Judea. Now the apos- 
tle asks them to "prove" their love, to prove their credibility. He 
begins by stating that he is not ordering (Gr. epitagen, epi and tasso, 
"ordering or regulating") them to do as the Macedonians did. When 
Paul says, "I say this not as a command . . ." he certainly is not 
removing christian stewardship from the realm of divine command- 
ment. As we have already pointed out, he directed the Corinthians to 
take up offerings in I Corinthians 16: Iff. In the Gospels are clearly 
recorded the commandments of Christ about stewardship of all areas 
of life. What Paul does not want to order or regulate is the amount 
(see 8:12). Regulating the amount is what the Law of Moses did. Of 
course, it is also true that in the New Dispensation, stewardship must 
have love as its motivation — not law. But since love is not self- 
defining, there must be "commandments" from Christ and the 
apostles to provide definitive guidance as to what pleases God. God's 
word therefore "commands" us to give to help any brother who is in 
need (I John 3:15-18; 4:19 — 5:3). In his commands God defineslove. 
He cannot love him outside his commandments! Paul is, therefore, 
not saying here that giving is not commanded. Our motivation for lov- 
ing, or giving, is because God loved (and gave) to us first (I John 
4:19). The apostle stated at the first of this letter (1:24) he did not want 
to give the impression that he was "Lording it over their faith." He 



280 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

does not issue a command (although stewardship is commanded by 
the Lord and his apostles) he piques their desire to give by reminding 
them of the Lord's graciousness. 

The Lord Jesus, anointed (Christ) by God for the purpose of 
becoming poor, is the supreme example of the grace of giving. How 
rich was Jesus before his incarnation? Paul says he was, in his pre- 
incarnate existence, "equal with God" (Phil. 2:5-6) but he "emptied" 
himself of that divine status and took the form of a human servant 
(Phil. 2:7-9). Speaking of the identity of Christ, Paul said to the Col- 
ossians, "he is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all 
creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, 
visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or 
authorities — all things were created through him and for him." (Col. 
1:15-16). Paul added, ". . . in him all things hold together." (Col. 
1:17). In Jesus dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead, bodily! (Col. 
1:19, 2:9). The riches Christ has to offer are "unsearchable" (Eph. 
3:8). Moses valued even the poverty ("reproaches") of the Christ 
"greater riches than the treasures of Egypt" (Heb. 11:26). The Son of 
God, heir of the majestic glory and absolute riches of heaven, divested 
himself of all he owned and came to earth and impoverished (Gr. ep- 
tocheusen) himself in order that (for the very purpose) by the in- 
strumentality of his poverty (Gr. ptocheia) we might become rich. 
While birds had nests, and foxes had dens, the Son of man had no 
place "to lay his head" (Matt. 8:20; Luke 9:59). Ray C. Steadman 
writes, "Remember how he (Jesus) constantly borrowed everything? 
We may reverently say that he was the greatest scrounger of history. 
He was always borrowing. He had nothing of his own. He borrowed 
food, he borrowed clothing, he borrowed a coin to give an illustra- 
tion, a donkey to enter into the city of Jerusalem, and he finally had to 
borrow a tomb in which to be laid. On one occasion the disciples all 
went to their own homes but he went to the Mount of Olives." All 
these things were his by right of having been Creator of them — yet he 
gave them all up (not because he had to) in order to fulfill the will of 
God on our behalf. For the glory that was set before him, Christ en- 
dured the cross, contemptuous of the shame (Heb. 12:1-2). The glory 
the incarnate Christ anticipated was the glory he had with the Father 
before the world was made (see John 17:1-5). And he left it all, to take 
on human form, and suffer the humiliation of human rejection, 



281 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

rebellion and crucifixion, in order to become a substitutionary atone- 
ment for sinful mankind. Thus, in his impoverishment, he made man 
rich. After his humiliation he was raised from the dead, ascended to 
heaven and the right hand of God the Father, there to inherit all his 
former glory plus the glory accrued from his incarnate work of 
redemption. And he made us "joint heirs" (Rom. 8:12-17) of his 
glory! Paul had already told the Corinthians that God was preparing 
for them "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (II Cor. 
4:16-18). If the unsearchable, inexpressible selflessness of Christ in his 
abdication of divine riches to accomplish our redemption does not 
pique our desire to give to others, nothing will! 

8:10-12 Proved: It is one thing to talk about "love" and another to 
actually "love." It is one thing to admire, be awed by, and praise the 
divine demonstration of Christ's love, and another to emulate it! Paul 
exhorts the Corinthians to demonstrate their integrity. Let them prove 
their credibility. While he will not, on his own, make his suggestion as 
an apostolic commandment. He gives his apostolic "wisdom" (Gr. 
gnomen, from ginosko, meaning, "to know, mind, wisdom, 
opinion"). Apostolic "opinion" or "wisdom" in any matter, while 
not a direct commandment, is to be highly respected and obeyed, so 
long as it does no violation to divine commandments. 

Paul "gives" his opinion, and then suggests it is probably "expe- 
dient" (Gr. sumpherei, "bring together for profit, profitable, 
beneficial, advantageous") for the Corinthians that he give an 
"apostolic suggestion" rather than an arbitrary commandment. The 
RSV is wrong to include the clause, "it is best for you." in one large 
clause of verse 10. "It is best for you" stands as a separate clause on 
its own in the Greek text and reads literally, "for this for you is expe- 
dient." That being the case, it is difficult to establish the connection 
of the statement. Does Paul mean "it is expedient for them" to finish 
the giving they started a year ago, or does he mean "it is expedient for 
them" that he gives only a suggestion and not a commandment? 
Plummer paraphrases, "To offer an opinion, and not give a com- 
mand, is the method which is suitable to people like you, who were to 
the front, not only in doing something, but also in desiring to do 
something, as long ago as last year." Plummer thinks the clause, "it is 
expedient for you," connects to Paul's "advice." This connection of 
the clause is more in keeping with the intent of verse 8 and with the at- 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

titude of the Corinthians expressed in the following clause. The Corin- 
thians had already expressed their desire to give and had begun to do 
so a year earlier. Those who have never expressed any willingness to 
do what is clearly a christian duty must be commanded. Those who 
have not only wanted to do their duty, but have already begun, need 
only "advice." This may be true of many 20th century church 
members! Perhaps the "willingness" is already there in their mind and 
heart — but they need some apostolic "advice" on when to give, how 
much to give, and what their giving will accomplish. Away with all the 
slick, secular promotions! Give christians scriptural "advice" on giv- 
ing! 

Paul's "advice" is, ou morion to poiesai alia kai to thelein pro- 
enerxasthe apo perusi, literally, "not only the to do but also the to 
will, previously you began from last year..." The infinitive poiesai is 
aorist but the next infinitive thelein is present tense. Plummer says, 
"This may perhaps intimate that the acting has ceased, and that only 
the wishing remains. They had been first in both, but now others were 
before them in acting." The RSV supplies, in verse 10, the word 
"complete" — it is not a part of the Greek text in verse 10. Paul is not 
emphasizing in verse 10 the completion, but the eagerness and the 
earliness. In verse 11 the Greek text uses the word epitelesate, "com- 
pletion," twice. The verb proenerxasthe is a combination of three 
Greek words, pro, meaning "before," en, meaning "before" and ar- 
chomai, meaning "begin, first," thus we have an emphatic verb. Paul 
is emphasizing that the Corinthians had been the very first congrega- 
tion to express their desire and had begun to give before any other 
group. But at some time after the beginning they had ceased to give 
and their intended offering was incomplete. 

The RSV has taken the first part of the Greek text in verse 1 1 (nuni 
de kai to poiesai epitelesate, "and so now the to do, complete") and 
transferred it back by translation into verse 10. Actually, verse 11 
begins, "and so now the to do, complete." The verb epitelesateis 
aorist. It is a combination if epi, a prepositional prefix emphasizing 
intensity, and teleioo, meaning "perfect, complete, fulfill, bring to a 
goal, end." Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to bring what they ex- 
pressed such eagerness to do, and had actually begun to do, to frui- 
tion! He advises them that their eagerness (Gr. prothumia, "pas- 
sionate forwardness") of a year ago should be matched by their 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

finishing what they started. Prothumia is translated "readiness;" 
thumia is from a word in Greek which means "passionate, or hot- 
tempered." The Corinthians had passionately expressed their desire to 
contribute to the hungry saints in Jerusalem. It would be a sad thing 
that those who were foremost in willingness should be last in fulfilling 
it! Jesus rebuked the church at Sardis because he had "not found their 
works perfect (completed)." Even though they "had the name of be- 
ing alive" they were dead (Rev. 3:1-2). It is a serious reflection on the 
integrity and stability of Christ and Christianity for congregations to 
be "alive" with grandiose projects and plans, but "dead" to the com- 
pletion or fulfillment of their promises. Thus Paul urges them to 
"match" their passionate willingness and their beginning actions with 
a completion of the project. And they need to make the completion ' 'out 
of what they have" (Gr. ek tou echein). Paul means they should give 
in proportion to what they have (see I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 8:14). To 
prove their integrity they do not need to give beyond their ability, but 
according to a proper proportion of their means as they have deter- 
mined. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to personal in- 
tegrity. A christian's actions must match his words. Jesus even warned 
would-be followers to "count the cost" of carrying through, 
finishing, or completing before professing discipleship (see Luke 
14:25-35). Christians must not love in word or speech but in deed and 
in truth (I John 3:18; 4:20-21). Love must be proved. 

8:13-15 Prudential: At the same time Paul gives "advice" about 
proving their integrity, he also suggests that the Corinthians be pru- 
dent and sensible about their responsibilities in how much to give. 

First, he advises, give in proportion (Gr. katho ean, "according to 
whatever") to what one has (Gr. eche, has, possesses, etc.). He pro- 
mises that such giving is acceptable (Gr. euprosdektos, "very 
favorable acceptance") to Christ. There are a few examples of 
believers and worshipers giving all they had to the Lord's treasury (see 
Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4); there is at least one incident where the 
Lord commanded a rich, covetous man, to give all he had to the poor 
(see Matt. 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23). These are excep- 
tional cases and not the general rule. Jesus' purpose in these excep- 
tional incidents was to break the idolatry from the soul of the 
covetous. The general rule of stewardship and giving in the New 
Testament is proportionate — relative to one's ability — to one's 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

possessions. 

The first century Hebrew christians, had all things common (Acts 
2:43-47), and were so generous they sold property and laid the money 
at the feet of the apostles for distribution to the needy (Acts 4:32-37). 
But such great generosity was not a requirement ! When Ananias and 
Sapphira lied about their generosity, they were reminded they were 
not expected to give as much as others if they did not want to — but 
they were expected not to lie about their giving ! (Acts 5:1-11). In every 
parable of Jesus about stewardship the teaching is that a steward is to 
be faithful in what he has, not in what he does not have. 

But what is the "proportion" of a christian's possessions he 
should give? Should it be a "tithe" (10%)? Should it be "tithes and 
offerings" (more than 10%)? If so, how much? The New Testament 
does not legislate specific "proportions"! The New Testament does 
not teach "tithing" — it teaches stewardship of 100% of a christian's 
"possessions." There are principles in the N.T. which should offer 
guidelines for christian giving. Christians are not to be covetous. They 
are not to be greedy. They are not to be anxious (double-minded) 
worrying over food, clothing and shelter (Matt. 6:25-34). They are to 
remember they brought nothing into the world neither can they carry 
anything out and so be content with food and clothing (I Tim. 6:6-10). 
They are not to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but to do good, be 
rich in good deeds, liberal and generous (I Tim. 6:17-18). Christians 
are to provide necessities for their own families (I Tim. 5:8). The Lord 
expects christians to maintain their personal lives financially and 
materially in such sufficiency as permits them to minister to Christ's 
kingdom and the needy to the best of their capabilities (II Cor. 
9:8-13). 

Each christian must decide what "proportion" he should give 
directly to the church. Each christian must study God's word and 
decide for himself how much he keeps to be fed, clothed and 
sheltered; to care for his own family; to conduct his personal ministry 
in the name of Christ; to keep from becoming a "burden" on others 
(see II Cor. 8:13). All beyond these necessities, he should give to the 
work of the Gospel, clearly understanding that he is accountable for 
faithful, frugal and wise stewardship of what he has kept back for 
himself. The true follower of Christ is not permitted the luxury of 
waste or self-indulgence. There are too many cries for help — too 



285 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

many evangelistic opportunities begging — christians dare not 
squander what God has given them or pamper themselves. 

A christian does not have to be rich to give. Every christian, even 
the poor, is to give and act responsibly toward whatever stewardship 
the Lord has given him. If a poor christian is "passionately" eager to 
give, and gives in "proportion" to what he has to fulfill the principles 
stated above, his gift is "very favourably accepted" by the Lord. 

While the Lord expects us to "renounce all that we have" (Luke 
14:33), and to be willing, should he demand it, to give up everything 
we own, the normal rule of christian giving is "in proportion to what 
one has, not according to what one does not have." 

Paul's explanation of "proportionate" giving is intended to keep 
some from being eased and others burdened. There must have been 
those in the Corinthian congregation accusing Paul of discriminating 
against the rich. Perhaps they thought he was expecting a few "well- 
to-do" people to carry the whole "burden" of the collection of Judea. 
Paul clears that up. Everyone is to give something. Let it be according 
to everyone's ability. Every christian at Corinth (even a slave) is to 
make some contribution. The pressure (Gr. thlipsis, "burden, afflic- 
tion, pressed-down") of giving must be on every member's con- 
science. 

In verse 14, the principle of equality (Gr. isotetos, "equal, same 
as, fair") is applied to christian giving. "Proportionate" giving makes 
the burden of giving equal upon all in the congregation. Everyone is to 
give something — in proportion to what he has. Those who had little 
were to give "as they had been prospered" (I Cor. 16:2), and those 
who had much were to give "as they had been prospered." However 
much each had, that "much" would be required (Luke 12:48). It is 
not the amount, but the eagerness, the equality, the total sharing of 
every christian to give that pleases the Lord. 

Abundance and prosperity, by the grace of God, is dispensed by 
the Almighty in ways and places incomprehensible to man — but 
always according to God's will. The abundance of those he prospers is 
willed to them so they may supply the lack (Gr. husterema, "to be in 
need, be inferior, deficient") of any one. Christian giving is not to 
supply what people "want," but what people "need." According to 
the providential shifts in prosperity, those who "have" are to help 
supply needs to those who "do not have." Those who give are to do so 



286 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

freely, without coercion, not of compulsion, not by legislated 
amounts, but proportionately. Evidently, many people of Corinth had 
been prospering while the people of Palestine had been suffering 
drought, famine, earthquakes, plundering of their possessions by 
persecutors (see Heb. 10:32ff), and other depredations. So, Paul 
reminds the Corinthians, their abundance (Gr. perisseuma) was pro- 
videntially given them by God that they might learn to give to the 
needs of those not thus blessed. 

In the latter half of verse 14 the interesting principle of expected 
reciprocation is put forward. At the time Paul wrote II Corinthians, 
the Greeks were prospering and the Jews were impoverished. Paul 
says to the Corinthians, "... but that as a matter of equality your 
abundance at the present time should supply their (Jews) want, so that 
their abundance (Jews) may supply your (Corinthians) want, that 
there may be equality." While the Corinthians supply the needs of the 
Jewish brethren at the present, there may come a day when the Jewish 
brethren may have to supply the needs of impoverished Corinthians! 
And, if the Corinthians never become impoverished, and the Jewish 
brethren should some day supply the needs of brethren in Rome, the 
principle of "equality" is still carried on so the Corinthian brethren, 
participate in the relief to the Romans because they helped the Hebrew 
christians. Paul verified the principle of indirect participation when he 
wrote to the Philippian christians concerning their support of his 
ministry (see Phil. 4:15-17). "Cast your bread upon the waters, for 
you will find it after many days" (Eccl. 11:1; Deut. 15:10-11; Prov. 
19:17; Matt. 10:42). 

Verse 15 is a quotation from the Old Testament illustrating equali- 
ty. In the O.T. it was commanded (see Exod. 16:18). Each Israelite 
was commanded to gather only as much manna as he could eat. Some 
gathered more. Some gathered not enough. However, when they came 
to measure the manna, each man's gathering weighed exactly the 
same! That is the will of God for his kingdom! Even in this imperfect 
world where Providence decrees that some have more material goods 
as their stewardship than others, everyone is to join in being faithful 
to his stewardship — whether it be small or large. Let there be equality 
(not in the amount) in participation^. God does not need amounts! All 
the cattle on a thousand hills are his and if he were hungry he would 
not ask us. But God does desire equal participation in his kingdom — 



287 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

and he desires it because all kingdom-people need participation. They 
can never have a "servant's heart" until they do participate in giving 
according to what they have. 

Usually, the emphasis in church stewardship programs is to pro- 
duce a certain amount of income. Usually, people are urged to give to 
meet a specific need. But the emphasis of Paul's instructions to the 
Corinthian church has to do with the needs of the giver while the 
amount of the gift and the need it is to meet are secondary! Would to 
God that the modern Church would understand Paul's teaching here 
and make it a priority in its call to stewardship. Christian people can- 
not be edified and spiritually matured until they have been taught that 
giving is primarily for their own spiritual growth and not to meet 
needs. Paul will have more to say on this in succeeding verses. 



SECTION 3 

Carefulness (8:16-24) 

16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for 
you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our ap- 
peal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own 
accord. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous 
among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel; 19 and not 
only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel 
with us in this gracious work which we are carrying on, for the 
glory of the Lord and to show our good will. 20 We intend that no 
one should blame us about this liberal gift which we are ad- 
ministering, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the 
Lord's sight but also in the sight of men. 22 And with them we are 
sending our brother whom we have often tested and found 
earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever 
because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my 
partner and fellow worker in your 'service; and as for our 
brethren, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of 
Christ. 24 So give proof, before the churches, of your love and of 
our boasting about you to these men. 



288 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

8:16-19 Of Administration: In this text we have an apostolic ad- 
monition concerning carefulness in our giving. Christian stewardship 
involves more than merely giving. It demands careful, discriminating, 
prudent and conscientious giving. Ray Stedman writes: 

The combined amount of Christian giving in the United States alone has 
been estimated at well over half billion dollars a year. . . . That is a lot 
of money, and yet much of it is wasted. Much is given to causes that 
ought not to be supported, or given in ways that are foolish and spend- 
thrift. Much of it goes to line people's pockets, to be used for the enrich- 
ment of a few and the exploitation of many. We desperately need to be 
helped in our giving, learning to give responsibly with intelligence and 
care, so that the money goes to the right purposes and is used in the right 
way. {Expository Studies in 2 Corinthians, pg. 158) 

Paul reports to the Corinthian church that the administration of the 
money they are collecting for the brethren in Judea will be done pro- 
perly, honestly and openly. The Corinthians may rest assured their 
money will go to serve the purpose for which they gave it. 

First, it will be administered by more than one person. Paul, alone, 
will not be handling the money. Accompanying Paul to Jerusalem 
with the offering will be Titus, Paul's co-worker, "the brother who is 
famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel," and 
"our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many 
matters," (8:16, 17, 18, 22). Second, the two unnamed brethren were 
"appointed" (Gr. cheirotonetheis, "elected by show of hands," 8:19) 
or were "messengers" (Gr. apostoloi, "apostles; one's sent") of the 
churches. Titus' veracity and integrity had been tested and is verified 
by Paul. He says that "God put the same earnest care into the heart" 
of Titus as was in Paul's heart for the Corinthians. Titus' "earnest 
care" (Gr. spouden "diligence") for the Corinthians was not forced. 
He gladly responded to Paul's request for help in this matter "of his 
own accord" (Gr. authairetos, comb, of autos, "self," and 
haireomai, "choice, option"). The RSV translates verse 18, ". . . the 
brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching ..." 
but the word "preaching" is not in the Greek text. Literally, verse 18 
reads, "... the brother of whom the praise (Gr. epainos, "praise, ap- 
plause, honor, commendation") in the gospel is throughout all the 
churches. . . ." It may be that this brother's "fame" was for living 



289 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

the gospel rather than "preaching" the gospel. That would be more 
apt to commend him to the Corinthians as worthy of administering 
the collection than merely his preaching. The point to emphasize, 
however, is that two of the administrators of this offering were 
specifically chosen by the churches. This provided safeguards for 
Paul's reputation. It provided the churches with assurance as well as 
satisfaction that they were personally involved in administering the of- 
fering by having chosen these administrators. It is the responsibility of 
all christians to insist on the practice of this principle of ' 'more than 
one hand" administering the funds they give for the Lord's work. The 
christian who gives to a christian organization not following this prin- 
ciple is not being a good steward. It is the individual giver's respon- 
sibility to see that it is so. That is why Paul was reporting this to the 
Corinthians church! "More than one hand" administering is not 
fulfilled in christian organizations where one "founder" or one ad- 
ministrator controls the financial operations and accounts. Nor is it 
being practiced in organizations operated by nepotism (family 
members in all administrative positions). That is why Paul called for 
those appointed by the churches to help him rather than confine the 
administration of the offering to himself and his immediate co- 
laborers. 

In verse 19 Paul calls the work of taking the Corinthian offering to 
the saints in Judea, "this grace being ministered by us." All of Paul's 
"works" were "works of grace" "works" motivated by "grace" 
which are in reality, human grace in grateful return for the free grace 
given first by God. What the Corinthians gave to the Judeans was by 
their grace. Man, the recipient of divine grace, is to cultivate the virtue 
of "graciousness" in his own character. Both the offering and its ad- 
ministration were by virtue of human graciousness in the Corinthians 
and in Paul. The apostle uses the Greek word diakonoumene, often 
translated, "deacon," and the RSV translates it, ". . . the work 
which we are carrying on. . . ." The NASV is better, translating 
diakonoumene "administered." Paul had two motives for involving 
himself in the "administration" of the offering from Corinth to 
Judea. First, to glorify (bring honor to, to praise, to give rank to) the 
Lord Jesus Christ. Second, to show his own "passionate" readiness 
(Gr. prothumian, see 8:11, 12) to serve the Corinthians in their 
spiritual pilgrimage. He had written much about his willingness and 



290 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

desire to serve them — now he wishes to show it by seeing that their 
offering is responsibly delivered to the Judean brethren. 

8:20-24 Of Accountability: Verse 20 is the pivotal sentence in this 
text. Paul intended that no one should find fault (Gr. momesetai, 
"blame") with his (and his co-workers) administration of the funds to 
relieve the Judean christians. To avoid any hint of scandal he "took 
precaution" (Gr. stellomenoi, present tense, middle voice, of "to 
place, set in order") or "made arrangement" to make his administra- 
tion of the offering fully accountable to both the Lord and to men. 
The RSV translates stellomenoi, "We intend." The NASV translates 
it, "taking precaution." The latter is the better translation. It was not 
merely Paul's intention to make his work accountable, he made ar- 
rangements that it would be so! 

It was the apostle's "aim" (Gr. pronooumen, "take thought for") 
to be accounted "honorable" before the Lord and before men. His 
"aim" was not some generalization, it was specific — he gave it 
thought, he reasoned out an arrangement to make it come to pass. He 
arranged to be accounted "honorable" (Gr. kala, "good") "in the 
sight of" (Gr. enopion, "before," "in the presence of") the Lord and 
of men. Every christian is "accountable" for his stewardship before 
the Lord (Matt. 18:23; Luke 16:2; Rom. 14:12; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 4:5) 
and before men (Matt. 5:16; John 15:8; Phil. 2:14-16; I Thess. 4:9-12; 
II Thess. 3:10-13; I Tim. 5:7-8; Rom. 14:18; I Pet. 2:12). 

All christian churches, missions, and para-church organizations, 
whose very existence depends on the "gracious stewardship" of in- 
dividual christians, are obligated by scriptural command and apostolic 
precedent to make an accounting in the presence of the Lord and the 
presence of men. It must not only be their aim to do so, they must 
"make arrangements" or "take precautions" to do so. Those who 
give must be given an open, honest, "good" report of the administra- 
tion of their gifts. It is the responsibility of individual christians to 
support only those christian works which are willing to make ar- 
rangements for sound financial auditing, accounting, and reporting. 
Such financial responsibility is "honorable" (good) before the Lord 
and men. 

In verses 22 and 23 Paul discusses again the character and creden- 
tials of those who will be helping him deliver the collection to Judea. 
The "brother" whose name Paul did not mention, was not his blood- 



291 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

brother, but a brother in the Lord. He had been tested (by cir- 
cumstances) many times and in many ways as he labored with Paul, 
and the apostle had always found him "earnest" (Gr. spoudaion, 
"diligent"). Now, he was "much more diligent" to help Paul because 
somehow he had gained great "confidence" (Gr. pepoithesei, 
assurance, trust, persuasion, obedience) in the spiritual aims of the 
Corinthians. Perhaps he had visited Corinth and heard the christians 
there "passionately" expressing their desire to help the needy Ju- 
deans; perhaps he saw that they all participated "equally" in the of- 
fering. This brother joins Paul's ministry of the offering under the 
auspices of the churches. Paul is willing to testify as to the brother's 
character and capabilities. But he wants it remembered that the 
"brother" was accredited by the churches for this ministry. 

Titus gets special mention by Paul. Titus is called, "my partner" 
(Gr. koinonos, "sharer, participant, communicant, partner") and 
"fellow worker in your service" (Gr. eis humas sunergos). And, while 
Titus was Paul's "child in the faith" (Titus 1:4), he was still a 
"messenger of the churches" for which Christ was to get the glory — 
not Paul. 

In light of all Paul has said thus far about the offering from Cor- 
inth, he now summarizes (8:24); by saying, "So give proof, before the 
churches, of your love and of our boasting about you to these men." 
In light of the motives Paul has given them, in light of the method 
("equality") he advises, and in light of the management (accountabili- 
ty) he promises, nothing should stand in their way of "completing" 
what they had so eagerly started a year ago. They had said much about 
how they loved their Judean brethren and how they were eager to help 
— now let them"give proof" (Gr. endeixin, from deiknumi, "to 
show, to point out, to demonstrate, to make a token") of their "love" 
(Gr. agapes, God-like love). Paul wants the Corinthians to 
demonstrate their love, not to him, but to the churches. Paul had 
boasted to other churches of their love — now he asks them to prove 
that what he had been telling others was so. 

The stewardship of giving, according to apostolic motives, 
methods and management, is proof of a christian's love! There is no 
getting around that. We may equivocate and rationalize all we wish 
but that will not erase these words from the pen of the inspired apos- 
tle! Paul stated this earlier (8:8) and will state it again (9:13). Proving 



292 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART I 

our love for Christ and for men can only be done by giving (I John 
3:16-18; 4:19-21; Matt. 25:31-46; Luke 10:29-37; 16:1-9; 16:19-31; 
18:18-30; etc.). Perhaps this is why Jesus spent so much time telling 
parables and teaching about GIVING — it is the one, undeniable way 
to prove one's love; not just giving, but CHRISTIAN STEWARD- 
SHIP. 

APPREHENSIONS: 

1 . What problem was Paul having with the Corinthians about their 
giving? 

2. Why was Paul asking for an offering from the Corinthians? What 
was he going to do with the offering? 

3. How widely known was this effort of Paul to take up such a col- 
lection? 

4. How "extreme" was the poverty of the Macedonians? Why? 

5. How seriously were the Macedonians about wanting to give to Ju- 
dean brethren? 

6. Why didn't Paul "expect" the Macedonians to give as they did? 

7. If Paul does not "command" the Corinthians, is any christian 
giving or stewardship to be "commanded"? 

8. Why does Paul mention the poverty of Jesus? How poor was 
Jesus? 

9. What is "readiness"? How is that acceptable? 

10. Why is "completing" what one has started so important to Paul? 

11. What is "equality" in this text? How is it to be accomplished? 

12. Why does Paul mention Titus and the "brothers" who are going 
to help him deliver this collection? 

13. Why is it important that these "brothers" were "appointed" by 
the churches? 

14. What does Paul mean by saying he "intends" no one should 
blame him? 

15. What has giving or stewardship to do with "proving" one's love? 

APPLICATIONS: 

1 . How often do you remind yourself that you are a steward, respon- 

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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

sible to God, for everything in your life? What is a "steward" 
anyway? 

2. Do you know any christians as destitute as the Macedonians? Do 
you think they should be giving to help others? 

3. If poor people give "beyond their ability", who will take care of 
them? 

4. How much does the Lord expect christians to give? 

5 . Have you ever begged the church to take your money? Have you 
ever known anyone who did? 

6. Have you ever been surprised to learn the sacrifices some people 
make to give? Why were you surprised? 

7. Do you have any "excellent" givers in your church? Who is an 
"excellent" giver? 

8. What approach moves you to give — command or example or ad- 
vice? Are there certain approaches which irritate you? 

9. Have you ever been guilty of deciding to respond to a plea for 
help and never completing it? Why? Is completing a "work" im- 
portant? 

10. Do you practice "proportionate" giving of that with which God 
has entrusted you? 

11. What "proportion" should christians give? 

12. Should every member of the church contribute to congregational 
offerings? Why? Does every member in your church? How may 
this ideal be attained? 

13. Do you determine the integrity of those administering funds 
received before you give? How? 

14. Is it possible that some money sincerely given has been misused? 
Who is responsible? What is the giver's responsibility? 

15. Should the giver be concerned if those administering his gifts of- 
fer no public accountability? Why? What should the giver do? 

16. Have you ever thought that you prove your love for Christ and 
others by how you give more than what you give? 



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Chapter Nine 

The Problem of Stewardship — Part — II 
(9:1-15) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Why is Paul so concerned about "appearances" between the Cor- 
inthians and the Macedonians? 

2. Are christians really free to make up their own minds about their 
giving to the Lord? 

3. What is a "cheerful" giver? 

4. Is material prosperity the result of a righteous life? 

5. What has giving to do with our "acknowledging" the gospel of 
Christ? 

SECTION 4 

Compulsion (9:1-7) 

Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the of- 
y fering for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, of which I 
boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia 
has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most 
of them. 3 But I am sending the brethren so that our boasting 
about you may not prove vain in this case, so that you may be 
ready, as I said you would be; 4 lest if some Macedonians come 
with me and find that you are not ready we be humiliated — to 
say nothing of you — for being so confident. 5 So I thought 
it necessary to urge the brethren to go on to you before me, and 
arrange in advance for this gift you have promised, so that it 
may be ready not as an exaction but as a willing gift. 

6 The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap spar- 
ingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 
7 Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly 
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

9:1-4 Conscientiousness: Chapter nine is clearly a continuation of 
the subject of chapter eight. The Greek conjunction gar is translated 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

"Now" (9:1) and connects chapter nine to the subject matter of 
chapter eight. The most persistent problem of stewardship facing a 
preacher is the problem of motivation. Stewardship is plainly com- 
manded by God in the Old Testament and by Christ in the New Testa- 
ment. But commanding free-willed creatures and getting them to obey 
commands are two different matters. Man's freedom to choose will 
not be violated by a just and righteous God. God will not coerce or ex- 
act or force offerings from people (neither should preachers!). Paul 
calls upon two facts of the human experience to motivate the Corin- 
thians to give: Self-respect and Selectivity. 

Paul was "boasting" (Gr. kauchomai, sometimes translated 
"glorying") of the "readiness" (Gr. prothumian, "passionate 
eagerness") of the Corinthians (9:2ff) to take up an offering for the 
saints in Judea to the Macedonians. He boasted of the Macedonians 
to the Corinthians (8:1-5)! This is true of Paul's communications to all 
the churches. He praised one church to another as a motivating factor. 
While you find Paul criticizing the conduct of one church after 
another in his epistles to each of them, you never find him criticizing 
one church to another! 

Paul says, "It is superfluous (Gr. perisson) for me to write to you 
about the offering for the saints ..." and then continues to write to 
them about it! He has already (8:8-15) written that he knows of their 
readiness and their beginning, but there remains the problem of their 
"completing" it. He tactfully softens his lengthy exhortation on giv- 
ing by this "superfluous" statement of his "boasting" about them to 
the Macedonians. Self-respect or conscientiousness is a worthy virtue. 
Paul was jealous for his own reputation (8:20-24) so he appeals to the 
Corinthians to be careful to fulfill what he has boasted of them to the 
Macedonians. An appeal to conscientiousness in a christian is really 
an appeal to the reputation of Christ! The christian guards Christ's 
reputation when he guards his own self-respect. That should be a 
highly motivating factor in his every action as a christian — and 
especially in giving] 

He told the Macedonians that "Achaia" (Roman named province 
of southern Greece which included the cities of Corinth, Athens, Spar- 
ta, Olympia, Delphi, Thebes and Cenchreae) had planned (Gr. 
pareskeuastai, perfect passive, "had made preparations and was con- 
tinuing to make preparations") to give to this special benevolence a 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

year ago. Information about the "zeal" of the Corinthians "stirred 
up" (Gr. erethisen, "provoked, excited") "most" of the Macedo- 
nians. 

But he sends "the brethren" (the three mentioned in 8:16-24) to 
prod the Corinthians into "completing" what they had begun the year 
before. The very presence of these "brethren" (two of them specifical- 
ly chosen by the churches themselves for this purpose) will urge them 
to finish their collection. Paul is urgent! He wants to spare the Corin- 
thians, himself, and the reputation of Christ of any shame should 
some Macedonians decide to accompany him to Corinth for the recep- 
tion of the offering and find no offering to receive! The Greek word 
kataischunthomen is a combination of kata and aischuno, "shamed- 
down," an intensive form of the word for "shame" and is translated, 
"humiliated." Paul is definitely appealing to self-respect as a motiva- 
tion. 

9:5-7 Choice: The second motivational factor Paul appealed to 
was the freedom every christian has to choose how, when, and how 
much he will give in any offering he makes unto the Lord. There is no 
"legislation" whatsoever in the New Testament as to method, fre- 
quency, or amount in the matter of christian giving. We repeat, the 
emphasis in the N.T. is upon stewardship (accountability, wise 
management, motive, attitude, faithfulness). Of course, since the New 
Testament is a dispensation of grace, infinite grace, it is simply as- 
sumed that a christian's giving will be liberal and generous. Paul 
might be saying (9:5), "I consider it necessary to send these brethren 
to you in Corinth to arrange the completion of the collection ahead of 
my arrival there because I do not want my presence to be the reason 
why you give." (see I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 1:24). The RSV translates the 
Greek word pleonexian as "exaction;" the word literally is 
"covetousness or greed." The RSV also translates eulogian as "will- 
ing gift;" the word literally is, "well-thinking." What Paul means is 
what he wants the Corinthians to give "happily," and not "grudging- 
ly" coveting for themselves what they are giving. 

It is imperative that preachers solve the problem of stewardship 
and giving without coercion of any sort. Christians must be left free to 
choose whether they will give, when they will give, and how much they 
will give. Even the Lord Jesus, when asked about giving, left the ques- 
tioners free to decide, when he said, "Render unto Caesar the things 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." While 
Paul teaches (I Cor. 16) there should be a congregational consensus 
about "collections" and some specified time and order as to their be- 
ing taken, he leaves every saint free to decide for himself about his 
contribution to the "collections." 

Nothing will intensify the problem of stewardship and giving more 
than coercive, manipulative, deceitful methods used to motivate it! 
Paul would not even appear in Corinth until after the offering was 
completed lest his "apostolic" presence (without any threats or 
duress) make the brethren there feel compulsion. Ray Stedman writes 
(Pg. 163): 

What a contrast to many Christian leaders, evangelists and others today 
who insist that you wait until they come before any offering is taken. 
They want to put the squeeze on, to tell emotional stories of deathbed 
experiences, to hold up pictures of crying children to twist your heart, to 
use competitiveness and rivalry as a means of extracting more funds. 
This is a terrible thing. It scorns the spirit of grace in a congregation. So 
this helpful guideline says, do not give to organizations or people who 
habitually rely on emotional appeals to get you to give. . . . Now we 
ought to hear needs, but habitual appeals on that basis are wrong, 
because it is the wrong basis on which to give. ... In Poland, I was told 
of organizations that were actually stockpiling Bibles in warehouses 
because they could not get them into the Soviet Union. But they were 
still making appeals to people to give for more Bible purchasing when 
they actually had warehouses full that they could not move. That is the 
wrong kind of appeal. When we learn of something like that we should 
stop giving, because we are responsible for what we do. 

Nothing will solve the problem of stewardship and giving more 
than the preaching and practice of "the grace of God." Paul, in fact, 
begins (8:1), and ends (9:15) the entire dissertation on giving by ap- 
pealing to the GRACE of God! The apostolic word (and practice) tells 
us, "more preaching of the grace of God equals more willing, cheerful 
and generous giving"! So when will the church "restore" the 
apostolic doctrine about stewardship and giving? 

The apostle says, "The point is this: he who sows sparingly (Gr. 
pheidomenos, "thriftily, forbearingly") will also reap sparingly, and 
he who sows bountifully (Gr. eulogiais, "well-speaking, praising, 
blessing, benevolently, frankly, liberally") will also reap 
bountifully." Stedman explains (pg. 164): 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

The closest analogy to giving that we have in life is the farmer going out 
to sow his crop. Giving is more than distributing your funds or 
resources, it is a process that will return something to you as well, like a 
farmer who sows seeds in the spring. He scatters seed out upon the 
ground, and he cannot gather it up again. It looks as though it is lost to 
him, and it is. He actually has to give up control of it and the use of it. 
He throws it away into the ground where it deteriorates, rots and is 
seemingly lost. . . . But it is not lost; it is not gone.' Let it fulfill its ap- 
pointed process and the farmer will have it back again and much more 
besides. That is what God designed. The return is proportionate to the 
sowing. If a farmer sows a little amount of seed, that is what he will get 
back, a small and niggardly harvest. If he sows bountifully and scatters 
prodigally, he will receive a prodigal harvest in return. The analogy is 
clear. If you give just a little bit, then what you get will be a little bit, 
too. But if you give abundantly, what you will get will be abundant also. 

But the rewards that the New Testament promises are never ultimately 
material rewards. The Bible promises not the wealth of things, but 
spiritual wealth — the wealth of character. The man who is generous 
in giving to the Lord and to others will be loved, respected, sought 
after for advice, honored, helped when he himself is in need; free of 
the character-shriveling vices of envy, covetousness, anxiety, and 
loneliness. People who do not give liberally and cheerfully are self- 
centered. The boundaries of their experience are extremely limited. 
They are never satisfied. They have no purpose beyond themselves. 
Self is the highest goal to which they aspire or shall ever attain. 

Paul uses the Greek word hekastos signifying specifically, "each 
one." No man is to decide for another what he is to give! The Greek 
word proeretai is from, pro and haireo. Haireo is the word from which 
we get the English words heresy and heretic, and means, "a self-willed 
choice." Add the prepositional prefix pro and add the phrase, te kar- 
dia, then we have an emphatic statement that "each one must do as he 
has made up (purposed) his mind. ..." Paul expects every christian 
to make up his mind to give something; but only what he, himself, has 
decided to give. No other person is to make any decision for him in 
this matter. It is, in fact, unwarranted for one christian to even "sug- 
gest" (unless requested to do so by the individual) to another how 
much he should be giving. The New Testament course to follow is to 
teach the unsearchable grace of God and suggest that giving must be 
decided in each person's heart according to his appreciation of that In- 
finite grace. 



299 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Any approach to motivate people to give that would cause "reluc- 
tance" (Gr. ek lupes, "out of sorrow or regret") would be 
hypocritical. It would destroy the giver! This passage condemns 
forever the heathen pragmatism in the philosophy of so many 
preachers and religious leaders today who practice any kind of "gim- 
mick" or emotional coercion "because it works"! "Works" for 
whom? Reluctant, coerced, giving does not work for the giver. And 
God does not need that kind of money! God doesn't need any money! 
God wants willing, cheerful, liberal givers who give because they have 
made up their own "hearts" to give. God does not need our money, 
but we need to givel 

The Greek words ex anagkes are translated "under compulsion" 
in the RSV and NASV and "necessity" in the KJV. The words mean, 
"out of distress, constraint, what must needs be." If christian work, 
benevolent, educational, evangelistic, missionary or any other, must 
be supported by bringing people (christian and non-christian) under 
"distress" or "compulsion," it is not christian work! So, while chris- 
tians need to give, being coerced to give out of gimmickry or 
manipulation or circumventing the mind by appealing to the emotions 
does nothing but spiritual harm to the giver. It is altogether possible 
this is the reason Paul was so reluctant to take financial support (I 
Cor. 9:12b, 15, 18; I Thess. 2:9; II Thess. 3:7ff) for his ministry. He 
would "burden" no one. He was careful that no man be pressured in- 
to giving out of "compulsion" or "necessity." He made no pleadings 
for money. He coerced no one. He had every right to be supported 
financially (see our comments, First Corinthians, chapter nine) but 
forfeited his rights for the sake of others. This does not mean, of 
course, that preachers, missionaries and other full-time workers in 
para-church activities should not be salaried and supported by those 
who benefit from their ministries (see Gal. 6:6, etc.). But it does focus 
the searching light of apostolic doctrine and example upon modern 
religious excesses in coercing and cajoling money from people. It does 
strip the facade of false spirituality from all the manipulative schemes 
in today's religious-financial flim flam! Much modern religious fund- 
raising methodology is justified under the umbrella of "public rela- 
tions." But "public relations" is often merely a euphemism for deceit, 
manipulation, self-serving pragmatism, and ethical relativism! "If it 
works, it must be righteous" is from the devil, not from God! 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

Finally, Paul says, hilaron gar doten agapa ho theos — "for a 
cheerful giver God loves." The Greek word hilaron is translated 
"cheerful" and is the word from which we get the English word, 
hilarity, hilarious. In the Septuagint (Greek version of the Hebrew 
O.T.), the word hilaruno translates a Hebrew word lehatshiyl, "to 
cause to shine." "Cheerful" giving makes the soul and the spirit of a 
man "shine" with the image of the Infinite Giver! Paul is evidently 
borrowing from Proverbs 22:8 as it appears in the Septuagint (LXX) 
when he says, "God loves a cheerful giver." The Greek word hilaron 
is used by the LXX in Prov. 22:8 where the phrase is, "God loves a 
cheerful and liberal man..." That phrase does not appear in the 
Hebrew text in Prov. 22:8 or in any of our English versions. But since 
the phrase is here confirmed as inspired from the pen of an apostle, 
and since the principle is taught in other Biblical injunctions about 
giving, its absence in the Hebrew text in Proverbs 22:8 poses no pro- 
blem. In the LXX the Greek word eulogei is literally, "thinks well," 
whereas Paul uses the Greek word agapa literally, "loves," in II Cor- 
inthians 9:7. The word hilaron is used only one other time in the N.T., 
Romans 12:8, enjoining the "one showing mercy to do so with cheer- 
fulness" (hilarity). It is also interesting that the Greek word dotes, 
translated, "giver" appears in Prov. 22:8 in the LXX and in the N.T. 
only here in II Corinthians 9:7. Deuteronomy 15:7-11 warns God's 
people not to harden their heart against giving to the poor — begrudg- 
ing any help to the needy. Israelites were expected to give "freely" and 
"open handedly" because there would always be poor people in the 
land. William Barclay notes an ancient rabbinical saying which goes 
"to receive a friend with a cheerful countenance and to give him 
nothing is better than to give him everything with a gloomy 
countenance." The people gave with hilarity to build the Tabernacle 
(Exod. 36:2-7) and to build the Temple (I Chron. 29:1-30). There were 
undoubtedly many other times when Israelites gave cheerfully (such as 
the widow observed by Jesus in the temple treasury, Mark 12:41-44). 
Zacchaeus, upon conversion and repentance, gave "half" of his 
goods to the poor and was ready to make restitution four-fold to 
anyone whom he might have defrauded (Luke 19:8-10). The Macedo- 
nians (II Cor. 8:4) clearly were "cheerful" givers, "begging" Paul for 
the "favor" of giving to help the Judeans. Paul quotes Jesus as say- 
ing, "It is more blessed (Gr. makarion, "happiness") to give than to 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

receive" (Acts 20:35). 

How many people have you observed "happy" to give — giving 
"hilariously" — "begging" for the "favor" of giving? Most give 
grudgingly! Most hang on to their money until they are pressured or 
manipulated through their emotions to give to some "emergency" 
need. When the offering is taken in your congregation are people 
stumbling over one another for the opportunity to put something in 
the plate? Are they laughing or smiling — are they enjoying it? Do' 
members of your congregation ever ask the elders, "May we have the 
privilege of giving beyond our means"? Do most people in your 
church conceive of their giving as done "to support the preacher" or 
"pay the bills of the church"? 

There is a reason human beings are reluctant to give their money to 
the Lord. But is is very subtle. It is hinted at in II Corinthians 8:5. 
Money, itself, is merely a medium of exchange. But that for which it is 
exchanged is life] Each person who works, expends his time, energies 
and talents — himself — a large portion of his life. In exchange he 
receives money (coins and currency or other material properties). So 
when a person gives his money, he is actually giving just that much of 
himself. Those unwilling to give themselves to the Lord, are unwilling 
to give their money to the Lord. To pretend that one has given himself 
to the Lord and then to be unwilling to give his money to the Lord (or 
to give grudgingly) is rank hypocrisy. Only those who have first given 
themselves (first, in priority) will be those who give "hilariously." At 
the same time, some will give their money (grudgingly) having never 
given themselves. Paul said, "If I give away all I have, and if I deliver 
my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing" (I Cor. 
13:3). Why we give is so important, what we give becomes almost ir- 
relevant] (see Matt. 6:1-4). 



SECTION 5 

Confidence (9:8-11) 

8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abun- 
dance, so that you may always have enough of everything and 
may provide in abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written, 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

"He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness en- 
dures for ever." ,0 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread 
for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase 
the harvest of your righteousness. "You will be enriched in every 
way for great generosity, which through us will produce 
thanksgiving to God; 

9:8-9 Ability of God: A most important motivation for giving is 
the christian's trust in the ability and willingness of God to supply 
everything the human being needs to live and serve his Maker to the 
best of his capacities. Jesus dealt extensively with this factor in the 
Sermon on the Mount. The Heavenly Father knows what his children 
need before they ask! (Matt. 6:8). The Heavenly Father stores 
and protects eternally every "treasure" his children lay up in heaven 
(Matt. 6:19-21). The Heavenly Father provides abundantly and 
gloriously for all the lesser beings of his creation — are not his human 
children of more value than these? (Matt. 6:25-34). Jesus proved that 
God is not only able, but passionately eager, to provide whatever is 
necessary to fulfill God's purpose in every person who asks! But what 
God is able and willing to do, and what human beings expect him to 
do, may be as different as daylight and darkness. Jesus fed some 
hungry people, but not all. He healed some ill people, but not all. He 
restored some dead to their loved one's on earth, but not all. God 
makes some people rich, but not all. God gives some people multiple 
talents, but not all. Paul's point in this passage is that God is able to 
provide every believer with every blessing in abundance, so that the 
trusting child may always have enough of everything to accomplish 
every good work God wants him to accomplish. Wealthy people are 
rich not because they are more righteous or "fortunate" than others, 
but in order that they may administer those riches as wise and faithful 
stewards in the service of God. Poor people are not poor because they 
are unpleasing to God or less talented than others, but in order that 
they may administer their poverty as wise and faithful stewards in the 
service of God. Every child of God has been given enough of 
everything that he may do every good work God has for him to do. It 
is not what the child of God could do if he had more — it is what he is 
doing with what he has now] 

Verse 8, in the Greek text is literally, "And is able, the God, all 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

grace (chariri) to cause to abound (perisseusai, aorist, infinitive) unto 
you, in order that. . . ." Again, Paul uses the word "grace" as a 
synonym of the material (and the spiritual) goods or means given by 
God to human beings for a stewardship. Whatever any human being 
has he has by the grace of God and for the service of God. Whatever 
any human being has is all the grace, at that moment, God has 
"caused" him to have for holy service. God forgets nothing, omits 
nothing, and is never incapable of providing all the grace needed for 
his purposes. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God has "blessed us 
with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:3). Peter 
writes that christians have been given all things that pertain to life and 
godliness by the knowledge of Christ through his great and very 
precious promises (II Pet. 1:3-5). It is not God who is inadequate. 
"The man with a bountiful heart finds that God supplies him with 
something to bestow" (Plummer). 

The phrase, "enough of everything" is literally, "all self- 
sufficiency" (Gr. pasan autarkeiari). The Greek word autarkeia is 
translated "contentment" in I Tim. 6:6, and is the word from which 
we get the English word autarchy, "absolute sovereignty." When God 
supplies, it is absolutely sufficient, and we should be content with it! 
Too many christians are not giving proportionately (and some not at 
all) because they think they do not have "enough" to give. Emphatic 
teaching needs to be done on these verses (9:8-11) so believers will 
understand that whatever they have is "enough" for them to give 
something which will please God. Notice, Paul says willing, cheerful- 
hearted men will always (Gr. pantote) have "enough" to give. "Self- 
sufficiency" for the believer is caused by God, but the believer must 
cooperate to make it a reality. It is the believer's responsibility to trust 
and be content. The less a christian desires for his own hedonistic 
pleasure (see James 4:1-4) the more he will be content, self-sufficient 
and able to minister to others. Usually, those who do not have 
"enough" to give for every good work are those who have insisted on 
too much for themselves! Let every christian be honest to himself and 
to God about this, and the foregoing statement will be correct. The 
Greek word perisseuete is, as earlier in the verse, translated "abound" 
and means, "overflow, over and above, more than enough, affluence, 
super-abundance." God is able to give us grace overflowing so that we 
may always have enough to "overflow" unto every good work. This 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

does not mean that we are to give only our "overflow" or our "abun- 
dance" (this is what the Pharisees did Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). It 
means that we will be able to "abound," to "sow bountifully" (see 
9:6). Believers do not give "left-overs" to God (see Mai. 1:6-9), they 
give the best and the most, taking the "left-overs" for their own use 
— still counting the "left-overs" as a stewardship to God. 

Verse 9 is a quotation from Psalm 112:9 and its subject is the 
believer, the man who fears God (Psa. 112:1), not God. The Hebrew 
text uses the word pizzair ("scatter or distribute") and the LXX 
translates the Hebrew word into the Greek word (eskorpisen, English 
"scorpion") the same Greek word Paul uses here in verse 9. The 
Greek word penesin is translated, "poor," and is the word from 
which we get the English word, "penury" which means, "last, 
destitute, abject poverty." The Greek word eskorpisen carries the idea 
of "dispersing or scattering abroad, widely, effusively, as in the sow- 
ing of seed, scattering grain by winnowing." The man who fears the 
Lord is unrestrained, profuse in his giving. That is because he is con- 
tent with very little for himself and because God has overflowed divine 
grace to this man to make him always sufficiently capable of sowing 
bountifully to all good works. That man's righteousness (Gr. 
dikaiosune) remains (Gr. menei) forever (Gr. eis ton aiona, "unto 
eternity"). The man who "sows bountifully" is like Cornelius, the 
Roman centurion, whose liberality (and prayers) went up before God 
as an abiding "memorial" (see Acts 10:1-4). When such a man dies, 
his works follow him (Rev. 14:13). They have become a part of his 
character that shall never die. The Psalmist said, "he will be 
remembered forever" (Psa. 112:6). Now God is able to make that 
happen in every believer's life — rich and poor! For, you see, it is not 
the amount in a comparative sense, but the willingness, cheerfulness 
and equality of participation that is "very well acceptable" to the 
Lord. 

9:10-11 Aim of God: Confidence (trust) in God's purpose (aim) 
for giving is necessary. God's purpose for believers in giving is the 
glorifying of his Almighty name! It is as God said so often through the 
O.T. prophets when he extended his mercy and grace "for the sake of 
his name" (see Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22; Dan. 9:18-19). Jesus taught his 
disciples to pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy 
name. ..." We are not to give to be seen and rewarded by men 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

(Matt. 6:1-4). 

The God who has never failed to "supply" seed to the sower and 
bread for food will "supply" and "multiply" the true giver's 
"resources." The word "supply" is a translation of the Greek word 
epichoregon. It is a combined word, epi, a prepositional prefix mean- 
ing to "intensify or pile upon," and choregeo, the word from which 
we get the English words, choreography, chorus, choral. In ancient 
Greece, the leader {choregeo) of a chorus, or a dance company 
(choreography) was charged with the responsibility of supplying all 
the material needs of his group. The group was to devote all its time to 
perfecting its "performance" and should not have to be anxious 
about the "necessities" of living. So the word choregeo came to be 
used as a connotation of "all sufficient supplier." These Greeks at 
Corinth would especially appreciate Paul's use of this word from the 
ancient world of theatrics. God is not only an Almighty 
Choreographer, he is also an Infinite Multiplier (Gr. plethunei, the 
word from which we get the English, "plethora." God "multiplies" 
our "resources." Actually, the Greek word translated "resources" is 
sporon and means literally, "seed," and the Greek word translated 
"increase" is the word auxesei which means "to grow." Paul is using 
these words figuratively. They are words in keeping with the sym- 
bolism he has used all through this chapter — words from the 
vocabulary of the farmer. The growth-cycle in "nature" — from the 
field of the farmer — is God's classic lesson on confidence in the 
Creator to choreograph a magnificent harvest from a bountiful scat- 
tering of seed. He does it over and over and over in the farmer's field. 

The God who does this in the farmer's field will also do it through 
the believer's pocketbook! The believer must have the same faith as 
the farmer and scatter seed (dollars) profusely. What the believer can- 
not forget is that his "harvest" (Gr. genemata, "fruits") is of the 
Spirit. The believer must have confidence in the aim of God to pro- 
duce spiritual ends, not material ends. While the believer uses material 
things they are not his ultimate goal. Material things are merely 
"means" to the spiritual goal he (and God) seeks to produce. God's 
goal is righteousness, in the giver, in those to whom he gives, and in 
those who are aware of his giving. 

God enriches (Gr. ploutizomenoi, from the Greek word Plutus, 
god of wealth; the word from which we get the English words, 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

plutocrat, plutocracy) all believers (wealth is relative) in every way for 
great generosity (Gr. pasan haploteta, lit., "all single-mindedness"). 
The word haploteta originally described the action of spreading cloth 
flat so that nothing was left hidden in the folds. It connotes "open- 
handedness, sincerity, liberality, genuiness, guilelessness, 
healthiness." Paul is aiming at the spiritual foundations of christian 
giving with this word haploteta rather than specific amounts. 

God supplies and multiplies, the believer administers his steward- 
ship in a "healthy, open-handed, generous, sincere" way (no matter 
what amount he is proportionately able to give), and "it produces 
thanksgiving to God." The Greek word eucharistian is translated 
"thanksgiving." It is the word from which we get the English word, 
eucharist, so often used as a name for the Lord's Supper because of 
Paul's use of the same word (eucharistesas) in I Corinthians 11:24 in 
his dissertation about the Lord's Supper. The same word is repeated in 
the Greek text here (9:12). It is significant and indicates that giving 
and receiving offerings of money in a congregation of christians 
should be as worshipful, as important, and as needful of total par- 
ticipation as the Lord's Supper! The offering is as much a eucharist as 
is the Lord's Supper. 

Paul is emphatic in this verse (9.T1) and the following verses that 
the primary goal of christian giving is to produce thanksgiving to God 
— to glorify the name of God. This is a major problem preachers face 
in the matter of christian giving. There is not enough emphasis on 
God's glory. Too often, when a modern congregation which has pro- 
duced some extraordinary liberality, the emphasis is put on the faith 
of the people or their "sacrificial" generosity. The glory gogs to God! 
And if believers are not able to trust God enough to give him the glory 
for any and all generosity, they are not giving from the right motiva- 
tion! 



SECTION 3 

Confessions (9:12-15) 

12 for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of 
the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. 

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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

13 Under the rest of this service, you will glorify God by your obe- 
dience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by generosity 
of your contribution for them and for all others; I4 while they 
long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace 
of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 

9:12-13 Proclaimed Clearly: In this text the apostle states 
categorically that giving (stewardship) is a "test" of "obedience" by 
which "we acknowledge the gospel of Christ." It is not the only test 
of obedience for acknowledging the gospel of Christ — but it is clearly 
a part of our christian "confession." 

In verse 12 the Greek word diakonia (the word from which we have 
the English, "deacon") is translated "rendering." But the word 
would be better translated "ministry." Then, the Greek word 
leitourgias is translated "service." Leitourgias is literally, "public ser- 
vice." In the LXX it is almost exclusively for the priestly service in the 
Temple, the offering of sacrifices. Christian giving is a "ministry" 
and a "liturgy" (worship). It should never be done frivolously, as 
simply a matter of course, or apologetically. Those who give should 
consider themselves performing a ministry and participating in the 
priesthood of believers. They should never look upon their offerings 
as "dues," as "spectator's admission fee," or as some sort of "holy 
tax." 

Paul says when christians exercise their "believers-priesthood" 
and "minister" through giving, they not only "supply" (Gr. pro- 
sanaplerousa, lit. "fill up by addition") the "wants" (Gr. 
husteremata, "things lacking," not merely wants, but needs) of the 
saints, such a ministry also "overflows in many thanksgivings to 
God." The Greek word eucharistion is again used (9:12) and 
translated "thanksgivings." Christian giving is worship — it is not 
just to pay bills. It is an integral, indispensable factor in christian wor- 
ship whether bills get paid or not, whether there are any bills to be 
paid or not. 

Preachers will inevitably have all kinds of problems if they hint 
that a believer's giving is a "test" of his profession as a christian. Yet 
that is precisely what the inspired apostle clearly states in verse 13! 
Paul uses some interesting and significant Greek words in this verse. 
The RSV translation does not do them justice; the NASV is better. 



308 



THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

First, he used the Greek word dia to start the sentence. Dia means, 
"through," or "by this agency." Thus the believer's giving is the "in- 
strumentality" by which he proves his confession of Christ. Second, 
he uses the word dokimes; RSV translates it "test," the KJV translates 
it "experiment" and the NASV translates it "proof." It means "to 
prove by putting to test and experience." It is a word from the scien- 
tific and judicial vocabulary of the Greeks (confirmed by the Greek 
papyri). Third, Paul used the Greek word diakonias, translated "ser- 
vice." Fourth, is the word hupotage, translated "obedience;" that is 
what it literally means, but it is sometimes translated "submission" 
(Eph. 5:21, 24). Fifth, is the word homologias, translated 
"acknowledging" in the RSV; it literally means, "say the same 
as . . ." and is often translated "confession." Finally, the Greek 
word koinonias, appears and is translated "contribution" in the RSV; 
it is the word from which we get the English word "communion" and 
would be better translated "participation," "fellowship," "partner- 
ship," or "sharing." Christian giving is not disinterested, discon- 
nected "contribution" but personal "participation" and "partner- 
ship" with those whom the giving helps. And, Paul adds, the gospel 
profession of the Corinthians was proved not only by the one-time of- 
fering for Judea, but in their giving "toward all men" (Gr. eis 
pant as). 

Again, Paul is saying christians are to "put their money where 
their mouths are!" They are to prove their love (8:8, 24) and their 
gospel profession (9:13) by their giving. While Paul has been emphatic 
throughout this entire dissertation (chapters 8 and 9) that christian 
giving is "not as an exaction" and "each one must do as he has made 
up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion," he definitely 
makes it a matter of "obedience" and "confession" to the gospel of 
Christ. Christian giving as Paul has outlined it in these two chapters is 
fundamentally "saying the same as" (confessing) the gospel of Christ 
says! Any stewardship short of Paul's instruction here is a denial of 
the Gospel. Jesus said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not 
the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Constant, repeated, in-depth 
teaching from these two chapters is really the only divine solution to 
the preacher's problem of convincing his congregation that giving is 
proof of the believer's love and obedience to the gospel of Christ. The 
world will never see a clear confession (or "profession") of Christ un- 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

til christian people give as Paul instructed the Corinthian church. 
What we say about our love for, our trust in, and our obedience to 
Christ must be proved by our giving (Gen. 22:12; Matt. 25:31-46; 
John 13:1-35; I John 3:16-18). 

9:14-15 Produces Community: Total participation ("equality") 
and proportionate ("as a man has been prospered") giving by chris- 
tians produces a compassionate, caring "community." It does not 
produce communism (at least not as communism is practiced 
ideologically in the nations of the world today). It does not produce a 
"commune" where every member throws all his possessions into one 
large treasury. It is a "community" of loving, caring, helping chris- 
tians of differing "gifts" — all giving proportionate to their 
"means," and when called upon, "beyond their means." All persons 
in this christian "community" do not have the same resources or 
amounts of abilities or accouterments. Some have much, some have 
little.but what each has is enough for him to participate in "every 
good work." 

Everyone participating ("equality") according to what they have, 
is what makes it a community. Those who need it are helped and long 
for and pray for those who are helping. Those who are helping long 
for and pray for those who are being helped. This longing for and 
praying for one another is "because" (Gr. dia ten, "on account of") 
the surpassing (Gr. huperballousan, "cast beyond") grace of God in 
one another. Such giving as Paul documents here by the Macedonians 
and Corinthians manifests that these christians so thoroughly ap- 
preciated the grace of God, it made them excel ("surpass") all expec- 
tations in giving for the Lord's work in Judea. Thus Paul begins (8:1) 
and ends (9:14) his discussion of the problem of christian giving 
(stewardship) appealing to the grace of God as a solution. 

Christian churches do not really have a problem with stewardship; 
their problem is with the grace of God. Grace is not preached enough! 
Grace is not discussed enough! Human works have been stressed too 
much! Christians have lost touch with the reality that everything they 
have, everything they are, every circumstance of their existence, past, 
present and future, is absolutely by the grace of God. Too many, 
while paying lip service to "grace," reserve a secret smugness in their 
hearts that they aren't such bad people, after all, and what they have 
and what they are, they have earned (at least a part of it) by their own 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

hard work and skill. Until christian people become possessed and 
obsessed with the absoluteness of the grace of God in their very ex- 
istence, they will never have the power to give or exercise the "ex- 
cellent" (8:7) stewardship according to the apostolic standards of 
these two chapters. 

The infinite grace of God brought forth this paean of praise, this 
emotional postscript to Paul's discussion of giving, "Thanks be to 
God for his inexpressible gift!" The Greek word anekdiegeto means 
"indescribable." Human language is inadequate to give full expres- 
sion to infinite grace. There is nothing in the human experience by 
which to compare (see II Cor. 4:17) absolute goodness and 
graciousness, hence there is no word for it! The best word by which to 
symbolize infinite grace would be "Jesus"! He was Infinite Grace in- 
carnated. He displayed it as absolutely as it could be displayed to the 
finite mind off humankind. There was no lack in his manifestation 
(John 1:14-18), the lack was in the sin-tainted minds of people keeping 
them from apprehending it. Surely, the extent to which we are willing 
to let the Spirit of Christ control us and live in us will be the extent to 
which we apprehend the "indescribable" grace of God! Paul finds 
himself a number of times unable to find human words to express 
divine realities (see Rom. 11:33; Eph. 3:8; II Cor. 12:4). Peter also ex- 
perienced this frustration (I Pet. 1:8). But we rejoice that the "Spirit 
himself interceded for us with sighs too deep for words" (Rom. 
8:26-27). While we may be unable to find words to express our joy for 
the infinite grace of God, we certainly need not flounder for actions 
which will express our gratitude for God's grace and be "very 
favorably acceptable" to the Lord; passionate, participating, propor- 
tionate, careful, chosen and cheerful GIVING. Such giving will 
multiply itself in multitudes of people worshiping and serving with 
"thanksgiving" to the Lord by words and deeds. Not even a cup of 
cold water given because of the grace of Christ (in his name) will go 
unrewarded. While a christian's efforts by words and by giving to ful- 
ly express his thanks for God's grace may fall short in this world, 
every sincere attempt will be "memorialized" before the God who 
knows all, loves infinitely, and is absolutely faithful (Acts 10:4; II 
Tim. 1:12; 4:6-8; I Pet. 1:4; Rev. 14:13). The obsession to express 
"thanks" for the inexpressible grace of God is the solution to the pro- 
blem of giving or stewardship. 



311 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

APPREHENSION: 

1. How do we know chapter nine is a continuation of the discussion 
of chapter 8? 

2. Who are the "brethren" Paul is sending to Corinth? Why? 

3. Why was Paul uneasy about Macedonians accompanying him to 
Corinth? 

4. What is an "exaction"? 

5. Why would Paul use the symbolism of "sowing and reaping" to 
teach about giving? 

6. What does the word "cheerful" mean? 

7. What does the word "enough" mean? 

8. Who "scatters" abroad? 

9. How does a giver's righteousness "endure forever"? 

10. What is the significance of the Greek word eucharist, translated 
"thanksgiving"? 

11. Why is the word "test" used in this discussion about giving? 

12. What does the word "acknowledge" mean in connection with giv- 
ing? 

13. What does the word "contribution" mean? 

14. How does one have the grace of God "in" him? 

15. Why is thanks for God's gift "inexpressible"? 



APPLICATIONS: 

1 . Do believers in your congregation consider their giving as a factor 
in upholding the reputation of Christ and the Christian faith? Do 
you? 

2. What do you think the community's evaluation of your church's 
giving is? 

3. How do the leaders of your congregation get people to give? 

4. Do you think people ought to be told how much to give? Why? 

5. How much emphasis is placed on the grace of God in your 
preacher's sermons and Sunday School lessons? 

6. Do you think the grace of God can be emphasized too much? 
Why? 

7. Is each christian really free to decide for himself what he shall 



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THE PROBLEM OF STEWARDSHIP — PART II 

give? 

8. Why do christians need to give? 

9. Do you give most cheerfully when a need to give is presented, or 
when you are made aware of God's goodness to you? 

10. Are ways to get people to give alright as long as they work? 

11. Are all the givers in your church "cheerful" givers? Do you think 
the church could get along without the giving of grudging givers? 

12. Have you ever had so little that you could not afford to give to the 
church? 

13. Do you believe God will always give every believer enough so 
that he may participate in the offerings given to the Lord? 

14. Should the poor give? Why? 

15. If God never needs what we give, why do we give? 

16. What if someone told you that a christian proves his profession of 
Christ and his obedience to the gospel by his giving? 

17. Does your giving testify that you believe the gospel, and that you 
are obeying it? 

18. Is the grace of God in you? How do you know? Do others know? 
How? 

19. How would you express thanks to God for his "inexpressible" 
gift? 



313 



Special Study 
Why Give Money To God? 

Bible Teachings On Giving 

by Seth Wilson and Boyce Mouton 

The Bible is filled with admonitions for God's people to give. It 
says that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. We are told that 
we should not give by necessity or requirement, but willingly, because 
the Lord loves a cheerful giver (II Cor. 9:7). A thinking person will 
want to know why? 

A. Recognizes God's ownership. 

B. Shows a willingness to depend upon God's faithfulness (Gen. 
28:20-22). 

C. Shows faith that God will supply according to His Word (Phil. 
4:19). 

D. Expresses love, honor and worship. 

E. Serves God with the resources that we have to work with. 

In Psalm 50:12 the Lord reminds us, "If I were hungry, I would 
not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof." In the 
same context He affirms His ownership of all the beasts of the forest 
and the cattle upon a thousand hills. God does not need our help 
because He is weak or wanting; but He depends on us because He 
takes us into His program for the world. 

Consider how much time and money the Jews, under the law, were 
required to devote to God. 

Time Given Completely To God In One Year 

A. Sabbaths 52 days - Lev. 23:3 

B. Passover 6 days - Lev. 23:4-8 

C. Feast of Weeks 1 day - Lev. 23:15-21 

D. Feast of Tabernacles 6 days - Lev. 23:34-42 

E. Day of Atonement 1 day - Lev. 23:22-32 

F. Feast of New Moon 11 days - Num. 28:11-15 

G. Feast of Trumpets 1 day - Num. 29:1-6 

Total 78 days 

Really 7 days in Passover, and 7 in the Feast of Tabernacles, and 12 in 
the monthly Feasts of the New Moon, but we have counted all the 



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WHY GIVE MONEY TO GOD? 

Sabbaths and the Feast of Trumpets (which is one of the new moons). 
This accounts for our total. Add days of travel and preparation for 
the feasts, and time used in purification rites and offering sacrifices, 
and there were more then 78. 

Property Given To The Lord By The Jews 

A. The Firstborn of Man and Beast; Exod. 13:2,12-15; 
34:19,20 

B. A Tenth of the Products of the Land; Lev. 27:30 

C. A Tenth of Increase of Flocks and Herds; Lev. 2:32-34 

D. A Special tithe every Third year; Deut. 14:28-29 

E. According to ability at Annual Fest; Deut. 16:16-17 

F. Firstfruits of Trees and Land; Deut. 26:1-11; 18:4,5; 
Num. 18:12-18 

G. Animals sacrificed; Deut. 26:1-11; 18:4,5; Num. 18:12-18 
H. The Temple-Tax; Exocd. 30:13; 38:26 

I. Day by day giving to the poor; Deut. 24:15,21; 
15:11,13,14 

How did all of these sabbath days help God? What did He do with 
all of the money and what good to Him were the ashes of burned 
beasts? 

The whole point is this — giving was never intended to benefit 
God, it was intended to help us. God so loved that He gave . . . this is 
the very nature of God and it is also the very nature of love. The man 
who will not give has neither love nor God; and the miserly are in- 
evitably miserable. Love wants to give. Learn the deep joy of giving as 
an expression of love. 

The Grace of Giving 

1. The Christian should not consider giving a burden, but a grace or 
a favor. 

2. This is a grace in which we sould abound (II Cor. 8:7). 

3. If we first give oursevles to the Lord, we will gladly give of our 
means to Him (II Cor. 8:2-5). They of Macedonia gave out of 
their deep poverty (II Cor. 8:2). Not only did these people give out 
of their deep poverty, but they "abounded" in their liberality. 



315 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

4. This giving of ourselves and of our means to the Lord is our 
reasonable, or spiritual service (Rom. 12:1). 

5. We are not our own, but are bought with a price; therefore, we 
should glorify God in our body and in our spirit, which are God's 
(I Cor. 6:19,20). We can never repay the price that was paid for 
our redemption, which was the precious blood of Christ (I Pet. 
1:18-20). 

6. If we sow, or give, sparingly, we shall reap sparingly; but if we 
sow, or give, bountifully, we shall reap bountifully (II Cor. 9:6). 

7. Can we not take Jesus at His word when He said "It is more bless- 
ed to give than to receive," (Acts 20:35) and who has promised 
that we will receive in proportion to our giving? (Luke 6). Let us 
cultivate more and more the "grace of giving." 

Remember God's promise to the Christian: you will always be rich 
enough to be generous (II Cor. 9:8 NEB). 



How Strong Is Your Faith In God? 

How strong is your faith in God? How great is your love for Christ 
and His Church? Jesus said to Peter three times, "Do you love me?" 
Peter almost considered it an insult and I am sure many members here 
would feel the same way if He put the question to them. But the real 
question is, "Is your faith strong enough to let you love enough to 
walk by faith in this new year?" In the eyes of the world, walking by 
faith is the same as throwing logic out the window. How strong is your 
faith? 

Only a small percent of Christians have enough faith and love to 
give ten percent of their income to the Lord and His kingdom. Does 
this mean those who don't tithe are afraid God will not help them in 
their stewardship? Listen, Christian stewardship is a test of logic and 
faith: How can you believe God will take care of you in the next world 
if you don't believe He'll take care of you financially in this world? 
Faith begins now, in this life. (Mark 10:29,30). If we can not believe in 
God's promises here and now, how can we trust Him there and then? 
Christian understand how God takes hold of your money matters and 
improves them. Perhaps you are one of the many who loves and feels 



316 



WHY GIVE MONEY TO GOD? 

the need of giving more to your church and to missions, but without 
the faith to undertake tithing. Instead of trying to reason your budget, 
merely step out on faith. Throw logic out the window in this matter 
and walk by faith. Christian faith means walking in the dark where 
you cannot see, but knowing you will be guided. 



317 



Chapter Ten 

THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 
(10:1-18) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. Paul uses sarcasm in 10:1 — should sarcasm be used in service to 
the Lord? 

2. Is it right to think of christian service as a "warfare"? 

3. Is "frightening" people a proper ministerial method? 

4. What's wrong with human beings comparing themselves with one 
another? 

5. When should preachers (or missionaries) "move on" to other 
fields? 



SECTION 1 

Spiritual (10:1-6) 

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and 
1 U gentleness of Christ — I who am humble when face to face 
with you, but bold to you when I am away! — 2 I beg of you that 
when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such 
confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us 
of acting in worldly fashion, 3 For though we live in the world we 
are not carrying on a worldly war, 4 for the weapons of our war- 
fare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy 
strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to 
the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey 
Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your 
obedience is complete. 

10:1-3 Supernatural: In an age gone wild on pragmatism, 
relativism and situation ethics, the devil is not adverse to tempting 
preachers to use ministerial methods befitting these philosophies. 
With gimmickry, media manipulation, emotionalism, and "PR" ram- 
pant and "working" for so many institutions and individuals, the 



319 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

preacher is tempted to justify the same methods for his ministry. 
Why? Because the church has succumbed to "measuring" itself by 
worldly standards of success and has brought ungodly pressure on its 
preachers "to produce" numbers in attendance, financial income, 
buildings, staff, and "programs." But the Lord never, in all the word 
of God, approves of "insincere," "underhanded," or "cunning" 
methods of ministering his truth to sinful men (see II Cor. 2:17; 4:2). 
Some, in the Corinthian congregation, had evidently accused Paul 
of inadequate, and improper methodology in his ministries to them. 
The first thing he deals with is their accusation that he is a "phony." 
They were saying that when he was with them, face to face, he was 
"humble" (Gr. tapeinos, "lowly-minded"), but when he was away, 
writing letters to them, he was "bold" (Gr. tharro, "courageous, con- 
fident"). They were accusing him of being inconsistent in his methods 
of approach. They were (probably urged on by the Judaizers) charging 
him of being a pseudo apostle because of his methods. 

Paul appeals to them on behalf of the "meekness" (Gr. prautetos, 
same word as is used in the Sermon on the Mount — "Blessed are the 
meek . . .") and the "gentleness" (Gr. epieikeias, reasonable, 
suitable, fair, patient) of Christ that they not force him to come to 
them face to face and be as bold as he is capable! Their evaluation of 
his methods was — "worldly"! The Greek word is really, kata sarka 
peripatountas, "according to flesh walking." According to them, 
Paul was using the methods the heathen teachers and philosophers 
used. Thus, according to them, he was not commissioned by God — 
not an apostle with a spiritual ministry. Paul's method of appeal was 
to use a little sarcasm. He says, apparently quoting what he had heard 
some were saying of him in Corinth, "I who am humble when face to 
face with you, but bold to you when I am away!" The Old Testament 
prophets used much sarcasm; God speaks in the O.T. in the first per- 
son with sarcasm; Jesus used sarcasm; all the writers of the N.T. used 
it. Practically every preacher, writer, communicator, politician or per- 
son with any "cause" to proclaim uses sarcasm. The word "sarcasm" 
comes from the Greek word sarkasmos which means "to tear flesh 
like dogs, biting, cutting, stinging." Satire is akin to sarcasm and both 
are speech methods used in the scriptures to rebuke what is wrong and 
direct the erring to what is right. Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Job, and even 
Psalms are filled with sarcasms and satirisms. So sarcasm definitely 



320 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

has its place in methods of ministering God's word to sinful men. Sar- 
casm can be spiritual! It all depends on the motives for using it. 

J.B. Phillips translates verse 2: "I am begging you to make it un- 
necessary for me to be outspoken and stern in your presence. For I am 
afraid otherwise that I shall have to do some plain speaking to those of 
you who will persist in reckoning that our activities are on the purely 
human level." Paul was fully capable of using the sternest of 
methods, but he did not want to do so. Paul's preference for methods 
of edifying christians was an approach of gentleness and kindness. 
The Corinthians were "in his heart" (II Cor. 7:3; 6:11). He wanted to 
spare them any necessity to feel the sting of the apostolic tongue 
because he was fearful they would shut him out of their hearts (II Cor. 
1:15-2:4). 

The sharp words of the remainder of II Corinthians were not ad- 
dressed directly to the whole church, but to a small segment of false 
teachers and their followers who were destroying the spiritual stability 
of the church by disparaging Paul's apostolic authority. Paul is fully 
capable of showing boldness with such "confidence" (Gr. 
pepoithesei, to be persuasive, give assurance) as was necessary to per- 
suade them of the propriety of his methods and the authority of his 
apostleship. He "counted" on (Gr. logizomai, to reckon, to make a 
record, to put on account) having to put on record his boldness face to 
face — but he did not desire to have to do so. Some of the Corinthians 
had been led to "suspect" (Gr. logizomenous, were reckoning, were 
recording) Paul of "acting in a worldly fashion" (Gr. kata sarka 
peripatountas, literally, "walking around according to flesh"). An- 
cient Greek teachers were "peripatetics" ("walkers-around"). That 
was their methodology of teaching. Thus the accusation against Paul 
is that he uses non-spiritual, non-apostolic, non-sanctioned methods. 
The apostle uses two different Greek words to promise "boldness" 
toward those who think he is a "phony" apostle. The first word is 
tharro (verse 1) ("courageous, confident") which we have already 
discussed. The second word is tolmesai (verse 2) which means "dar- 
ing" and denotes boldness in undertaking some forbidding task. 

His answer is, "While it is true, we all do live and walk around in 
the flesh, the battle we are fighting is in the realm of the spiritual." 
One can be "in the flesh" but not "fleshly-minded" (worldly in men- 
tality and motives) (see Rom. 8:9; Gal. 2:20; John 17:11-19). He 



321 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

replies to their accusations by affirming that he, like all christians (and 
other apostles), is carrying on ("walking around in") an other-worldly 
war. His war is not of this world. Therefore, his methods are not car- 
nal (worldly). The Greek word for "warfare" is strateuometha. It is also 
the word used for "soldier" and "army." Strateuo or strateia is the 
word from which we get the English word strategy. Paul claimed his 
"strategy" or "warfare" (or method) was not on the level of the 
world. His "strategy" was spiritual (gentle and meek, like that of 
Christ). 

There is still a problem in the minds of some religious people about 
ministerial methods. While preachers are often tempted to practice 
worldly methods of "ramroding" or "lording" it over the flock under 
pressures to succeed or to stroke their own insecurity, some church 
members think preachers ought to be "pastors" (dictatorial, one-man 
executives), sort of arbitrary, autocratic superintendents of the con- 
gregation. They think a preacher who does not assert himself, make 
himself theologically and ministerially above the rest of the "flock," 
and "run things," is a phony. Paul refused to "lord it over" anyone's 
faith (see II Cor. l:24ff). But that did not mean he was a "phony" 
spiritual leader. His ministry was as supernatural as that of any ser- 
vant of God — and he would demonstrate it if necessary. He would 
rather they would accept the credentials he had already shown. 

The office of apostle ceased with the death of the last apostle ap- 
pointed by Christ. It was no longer needed when the church matured 
into one body from the two (Jew and Gentile) (see Eph. 4:11-16). But 
there is a sense in which every ministry of the gospel (whether by 
preacher, elder, deacon, S.S. teacher, christian neighbor or christian 
parent) is supernatural. All ministries of the word of God are 
"strategies" (warfares) or methods of fighting in the spiritual realm. 
Fundamentally and ultimately, the daily struggles of every christian 
are in the realm of the Spirit, "against the spiritual host of wickedness 
in the heavenly places" Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 6:10-20). The church is 
not in a war to conquer geographical territory or to capture human 
bodies or to amass worldly "loot." It is aiming primarily at capturing 
people's hearts (minds) and spirits. It is struggling for the victory of 
righteousness over wickedness, for the surrender to grace by faith. 
The kingdom of God is entered into voluntarily, through the peace 
Christ has made between God and man. It is not populated by coer- 



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THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

cion, by dictatorial methods. It is true, human beings are temporarily 
residing in "earthen vessels" (fleshly bodies). It is also true that the 
Lord wants his creatures to use those bodies only for his service and 
glory. But they cannot be coerced or manipulated into holy use. 
Therefore, the methods ("strategies") of the christian's warfare is 
spiritual (mental, rational, persuasive, evangelistic); "Not by might, 
nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6; II 
Chron. 32:7; Acts 26:17-18; I Tim. 1:18; James 4:1-4; I Pet. 2:11, 
etc.). The highly symbolized message of the book of Revelation 
discloses that the christian's warfare (although the wicked world wars 
against the flesh) is really against the spiritual hosts of 
wickedness in the physically-invisible world of view-points and ideas. 
10:4-6 Strong: Paul now appeals to the weapons he has used as a 
demonstration he is carrying on a warfare that is equally spiritual to 
that of any other true apostle of Christ! The Greek word hopla is 
translated, "weapons," and is sometimes translated "instruments" 
(see Rom. 6:13). The point is that the Corinthians must think of Paul 
as properly armed by God with implements capable of fighting a true, 
apostolic spiritual war and winning the victory! The same is true of 
every christian in a non-apostolic sense. The christian's weapons are: 

1. Not fleshly (Gr. sarkika), not oriented or aimed at worldly ends or 
goals which all perish with the world. 

2. But have divine power (Gr. dunata to theo), powerful because of God 

3. To destroy strongholds (Gr. kathairesin ochuromaton), overthrow 
fortresses, or that which is fortified. 

4. To destroy arguments (Gr. logismos kathairountes), overthrow ra- 
tionales or rationalizations. 

5. To destroy every proud obstacle (Gr. pan hupsoma epairomenon), 
overthrow every "mountainous" thing hoisted up — 

6. Against the knowledge of God (Gr. kata tes gnoseos tou theou) 

7. Able to bring every thought captive (Gr. aichmalotizontes pan 
noema), able to make every perception a prisoner of war — imprisoned 
to the control of the revealed mind of Christ (the Bible). 

8. To obey Christ (Gr. eis tev hupakoen tou Christou), unto the obe- 
dient hearing of Christ. 

The instruments or weapons in the christian "strategy" for con- 
quest are all, without exception, mental (spiritual). They are not made 
of matter. They have to do with "thought" and with "knowledge;" 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

specifically, the thoughts and knowledge of God! One has only to 
compare this text with that of Ephesians 6:14-20; to see that the chris- 
tian is to "arm" his mind with the mentality of God for his spiritual 
struggle (e.g. truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, word of 
God, prayer — all are implements of the mind and spirit). That is why 
there are so many exhortations for the believer to "set his mind on" 
the things of God (Rom. 8:5-11; 12:1-2; II Cor. 5:14-17; Phil. 4:8-9; 
Col. 3:1-4; I Pet. 1:13, etc.). When Christ engaged the devil in that 
great battle of the temptations in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 
4:1-12) he fought with his mind and spirit focused on the word of 
God. He used no worldly "strategies" (no human philosophy, no 
psychology, no emotional appeals, no material things, exaltation of 
self, nothing mystical or subjective); he needed only knowledge of and 
faith in the objective, propositional revelation of God. 

The revealed word of God (the Bible), because it is an inerrant and 
infallible record of the ultimate Truth (the person of God), has the 
power (dynamic) to defeat, cast aside, conquer, depose, pull down 
every "argument" (or rationalization) that stands in the way of any 
one who honestly wants to know God and live with him forever. There 
is no argument, from any source, no matter how erudite or 
sophisticated, no matter who or how many propound it, that can 
stand up to God's word honestly studied. His word is able to take cap- 
tive every thought of the human mind and direct it (idea, concept, 
precept) to the Source of all reality. Every human thought is to be 
taken captive to the mind of Christ, imprisoned to the constraint of 
Christ's grace and love (II Cor. 5:14-21). 

The word of God, captured the minds of kings, philosophers, rab- 
bis, fishermen, army officers, doctors, scientists, carpenters, finan- 
ciers, merchants, murderers, homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, 
drunkards, slaves, freedmen, rich, poor, learned, ignorant — all kinds 
of people from all races, cultures, languages, geographical locations, 
for millenniums. It continues to this day to overthrow the proud and 
arrogant rationalizations of human beings. It continues to this day to 
confirm that all humanly "discovered" informtion, honestly 
recorded, has its origins and its meanings in a Divine Being. 

There is no philosophy (argument) so well fortified or exalted 
against God that it cannot be overthrown and captured and brought 
under obedience to the control and redemptive purpose of God. There 



324 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

is no human mind so well fortified or exalted against God that it (or, 
he) cannot be overthrown, captured and brought into obedience to the 
will of God and his redemptive salvation. The word of God is living 
and powerful, able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart 
(Heb. 4:12-13; Isa. 55:10-11; Jer. 17:9-10; I Pet. 1:23; I Thess. 2:13; 
John 8:31-32). 

This is one of the greatest texts in all the Bible! It promises the 
christian that he has at his disposal divinely powerful "weapons" with 
which he may conquer for Christ "every" obstacle to the knowledge 
of God! There really is, therefore, no excuse for an evangelistic en- 
trenchment of the church. The church, as Paul saw it, was to be mili- 
tant, aggressive, on the offensive, "capturing" even the strongest and 
highest opposition to the knowledge of God. Yes! The church should 
be attacking false doctrines, false ideologies, immoral ethical 
philosopies, and deceitful hermeneutics. Remember, however, the 
christian's "warfare" is not against human beings but against 
thoughts and ideas that stand in opposition to people's opportunity to 
know God. Christians hate falsehood, but love people. Falsehood has 
its origin in the devil, who is the father of lies and liars (John 8:43-47). 

One of the most frustrating problems a preacher faces is that of 
getting the members of his congregation to believe these "weapons" 
are for their use. Every christian should arm himself with these 
weapons. Every christian should be drilling and practicing and 
sharpening his expertise in the use of the divine weapons. The moment 
any person becomes a christian, he has enlisted in the army of the 
Lord (see I Cor. 9:7; II Tim. 2:3-4; Rev. 19:19; Rom. 13:12; II Cor. 
6:7; Eph. 6:11, 13; II Tim. 4:7). His life has been committed to mili- 
tant assault upon falsehood. Christians are not to take a defensive 
position, but an offensive campaign against evil imaginations and 
anti-Biblical philosophies. He must speak up, speak out, debate, 
teach, argue (as did the early christians) from the Scriptures, until the 
King calls him to his reward. As he does, using the divinely powerful 
weapons promised here, he will overthrow every opposition to the 
knowledge of God. 

The fact is, however, even preachers are being seduced into waging 
the christian warfare with weapons of the flesh. These are the weapons 
the world uses to try to solve the problems it recognizes in society. 
They are coercion, manipulation, legislation, pressure groups, com- 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

promises and demonstrations that ultimately result in raised voices, 
clenched fists and outbreaks of violence — boycotts, pickets and 
strikes — all attempts to pressure people into doing what others want. 
The universal testimony of history is, these do not work. The world 
still has the same problems it has had since Eden. With fleshly 
weapons, the world will never get rid of its problems — it only rear- 
ranges them so that they seem to take another form for a little while. 
Vance Packard, in his frightening book, The Hidden Persuaders, p. 
3), reveals that public-realtions experts are advising churchmen how 
they can become more effective "manipulators" of their congrega- 
tions. 

The Church has no business focusing its energies, talents and 
funds on legislation and enforcement. Those are fleshly weapons. 
They are inadequate at best, and ultimately doomed to failure. In- 
carceration is only a temporary expediency. Bringing every thought in- 
to captivity to the mind of Christ so that people see one another no 
longer from a human point of view is the only divine and eternal solu- 
tion. Ray C. Stedman writes: 

The problem of history is not the world. It is the church. It is we who do 
not use the weapons at our disposal. Instead, we give way and go along 
with worldly approaches, using pressure-group tactics and petitions to 
seek to overcome with legislation the wrongs of our day. May God help 
us to understand the nature of spiritual warfare. The weapons of our 
warfare are not those worldly tactics. But, our weapons are mighty. 
They will destroy strongholds and bring into captivity every thought to 
the obedience of Christ. . . . The cause is not hopeless. We are not 
helpless; there is much we can do. Let a Christian act along the lines of 
the revelation of Scripture in this regard and things will begin to change. 
Any one of us can change things, in our lives individually, in our homes, 
in our communities, where we work, in our nation itself. Let us begin to 
learn the truth about life from the Scriptures. . . . We will find tremen- 
dous changes beginning to occur quickly as God uses these weapons to 
destroy the strongholds of darkness and evil around us. 

Do not forget! The mighty weapons of the Spirit overthrew fortified 
and exalted opposition to God in the Roman empire such as our 
modern world has never experienced! The book of Revelation 
predicted it — and it came to pass! And the history of the church has 
testified ever since, that when she uses the weapons God provides she 
conquers and captures. 



326 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

Section 2 

Sanctioned (10:7-11) 

7 Look at what is before your eyes. If any one is confident 
that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that as he is Christ's, 
so are we. 8 For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, 
which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying 
you, I shall not be put to shame. 9 I would not seem to be 
frightening you with letters. 10 For they say, "His letters are 
weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his 
speech of no account." "Let such people understand that what 
we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 

10:7-9 Viewed: Paul warned (10:6) that he was ready to "punish" 
(Gr. ekdikesai, "vindicate, or bring to justice") every "disobedience" 
of those at Corinth who refused to "complete" obedience like the ma- 
jority of the church was doing. There was a minority (perhaps only 
one) not repenting with the rest of the church. This minority was 
ridiculing Paul's reputation as a preacher of the gospel, and especially 
as an apostle. They were saying he was a "great pretender." Paul 
writes, "Look at what is before your eyes." The Greek Verb, blepete, 
can be either present active indicative, or present active imperative. It 
if is imperative, it would be translated, ' 'Look (a command) at what is 
before your eyes." If is is indicative, it would be, "You are looking at 
things as they are outwardly (on the face of things)." We think the 
context indicates the imperative translation. It might be paraphrased, 
"Look at things which stare you in the face!" 

Paul then begins to cite visible credentials for his prior ministry 
among the Corinthians, which they had seen and might continue to see 
if they would compare his credentials with the slanderous insinuations 
of "the one" stirring up the church against him. First, he reminds the 
Corinthians that if the troublemaker among them has persuaded 
himself he has authority because he in some special way belongs to 
Christ, so does Paul! And Paul had proved it to the Corinthian 
church. And his detractor should "remind himself" (Gr. logizestho, 
reckon, reason, think through) of the facts of Paul's special relation- 
ship to Christ. Paul is not referring here to the ordinary manifesta- 



327 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

tions of being "in Christ" — he refers to a relationship involving 
"authority" to give apostolic direction to the church. What Paul's op- 
ponent was "persuading himself" (Gr. pepoithen heauto, perfect 
tense verb) about his own authority from Christ, Paul really was author- 
ized to do, and had done before the very eyes of the Corinthians (see II 
Cor. 12:12). And it was not only miraculous evidence Paul gave of his 
apostleship, he also wielded the "weapons" of christian warfare with 
special Christlike effectiveness overthrowing the fortresses and 
strongholds of Greek philosophy as well as Judaizing legalism. Had 
his slanderer done that? No! He was tearing down the church! 

And that is Paul's second vindication of his ministerial 
methodology. He says, "The Lord gave us our authority for building 
you up and not for tearing you down. So if I should appear to be 
boasting too much about it, I have done nothing for which I should be 
ashamed as if I were a pretentious bully seeking only to scare people." 

Certainly, Paul had spoken authoritatively (and sternly) in his let- 
ters to the Corinthians. Evidently he had not felt it necessary to speak 
with such direct authority when he had been among them in person. 
But the "authority" (Gr. exousias) he had expressed in his letters was 
geared toward the spiritual maturation of the christians. He exercised 
his apostolic office and issued commands to direct their lives into 
paths of righteousness. He waged a warfare with authoritative words 
of truth in order to overthrow all obstacles to their knowing God. It 
was not his intention to merely "frighten" (Gr. ekphobein, lit. fear- 
away, "terrify"). There was no threat to his own self-esteem if they 
did not obey him. He was warning them — and doing so authoritative- 
ly! 

Preaching the fear of God and the fear of eternal danmnation is a 
scripturally sanctioned method! There is a difference between 
"frightening" people and warning people. Some people need to learn 
that distinction. The difference is in the motive, or in the end sought. 
Preachers who "frighten" people as a method to obtain decisions for 
the sake of building their own ego or glorifying themselves should're- 
pent. But warning people about hell by the authority of the Scriptures 
for the glory of God and the salvation of their souls is a method used 
in every book of the Bible, by every man of God, as well as the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

Authority is an indispensable method of preaching and teaching. 



328 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

The authority is never that of the preacher, but is always the Scrip- 
tures. The apostle Paul clearly disclaims any personal authority as he 
says, ". . . our authority, which the Lord gave for building you 
up. . . . " All authority belongs to Christ (Matt. 28:18; Matt. 11:27; 
Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9-11). Christ delegated some of his authority to 
the apostles (Matt. 16:19-20; 18:18; 28:18-20; Luke 24:44-53; John 
20:22-23; Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:1; I Cor. 1:1; II Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; 
1:11,12,15,16,17). The apostles exhorted evangelists and teachers of 
the churches to preach authoritatively from the Scriptures (I Tim. 
4:11; 5:20; 6:2b; 6:17; II Tim. 2:14-15; 3:15-17; 4:2-5; Titus 2:1; 2:15; 
3:8, etc.). The use of authority from the Scriptures as a method of 
ministry is to be tempered with kindness, purity of life, forbearance, 
gentleness, and patience, but the authoritativeness of the Scriptures 
must never be undervalued or underemphasized. 

It hardly needs to be mentioned that the goal for ministry is 
edification or building up, or growth (Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 1:24-29). 
While Paul's opposition in Corinth was methodically "tearing down" 
the church, Paul was trying to "build it up." The problem stemmed 
from the spiritual immaturity of the christians who could not com- 
prehend that Paul's "severe" words and insistence on "repentance" 
were methods of building. Those among them who gloried in the 
flesh, Judaizers and others, were trying to seduce the congregation to 
rebel against Paul's "severity." So, Paul cited the divine sanction for 
his methods as a method itself. 

Churches today must recognize that authoritative preaching and 
teaching by preachers, elders and teachers is an imperative method for 
the building up (spiritual maturing) of the individual and the cor- 
porate "body" unto the fulness of the stature of Christ (see Eph. 
4:11-16). It is sanctioned by the Lord. It must be made operative in the 
church. 

10:10-11 Vowed: Paul not only reminded them that he had ex- 
pressed the word of God with authority to them earlier (in his letters) 
but he vowed he would do so again, if necessary, when face to face 
with them. His promise confirms the importance of authority as a 
method of edification. All teaching which seeks to instruct, to com- 
municate, to educate, to produce growth, must exercise some form of 
authoritativeness. Authority, in teaching, is inescapable! Discipline is 
an imperative of learning. And discipline is possible only from a basis 



329 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

of some kind of authority. The uninstructed minds of children seek 
authority in the home. They want to learn. If authority is not there, 
they will seek it elsewhere. The same is true of the family of God. Even 
those who decry authority, do so with authority! 

Some Greek manuscripts (Vaticanus, some Latin mss. and some 
Syriac mss.) have the pural verb phasin ("they") in verse 10, while the 
best and oldest manuscripts have the singular verb phesin ("he"). The 
fact that Paul uses the singular pronoun toioutos ("such a one") in 
verse 11 should confirm the propriety of the singular verb in verse 10. 
In other words, Paul seems to be focusing his warning toward a single 
opponent at Corinth rather than a group. The RSV translates, "For 
they say ..." but it should be translated, "For he says 'His letters are 
weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of 
no account. ' " The Greek word exouthenemenous is a present partici- 
ple, a combination of ex and outhen, literally, "being from nothing." 
It is often translated, "despicable, contemptible, worthless." The 
RSV translates it "of no account" which does not seem to be strong 
enough to express what Paul's opponents were saying of his "speech" 
(Gr. ho logos, "his word"). It was probably not the delivery but the 
power and and authority of Paul's "word" they were disparaging. His 
method of communication was plain, straightforward, and 
economical — he did not waste words or "beat around the bush." His 
letters are not saturated with sophisticated philosophical ramblings. 
He is not pendantic or verbose. He does not write like a rabbi or a 
pedagogue. He would probably be snubbed in erudite theological 
circles today! So the trouble-maker at Corinth dismissed his "word" 
as "contemptible." 

Just what Paul's bodily weakness was we are not told anywhere. 
He refers to his "thorn in the flesh" (II Cor. 12:7ff). Some think it 
was impaired eyesight (see Gal. 6: 1 1) from the fact that he had to write 
"with large letters." Some think he may have been crippled by some 
of the beatings he had already suffered. Others speculate that he was 
small and frail in body or that he had an incurable disease. Whatever 
caused his opponent to say he was physically weak, it did not deter 
Paul from promising that what he said by letter when absent, he 
would do when present! His weakness would not keep him from exer- 
cising his God-given authority upon his arrival at Corinth should it be 
necessary to do so. Paul writes, "Let such a one reckon (Gr. 



330 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

logizestho, reason it out) that what we are in word (Gr. to logo) 
through epistles (Gr. epistolon) being absent, such also we are in our 
work (Gr. to ergo) being present." This was no idle threat. It was a 
warning. They must have this warning if they are to be built up in the 
Lord. Warnings are methods of ministry! 

SECTION 3 

Sane (10:12-18) 

12 Not that we venture to class or compare ourselves with some of 
those who commend themselves. But when they measure 
themselves by one another, and compare themselves with one 
another, they are without understanding. 

13 But we will not boast beyond limit, but will keep to the 
limits God has apportioned us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are 
not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you; we 
were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of 
Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit, in other men's labors; 
but our hope is that as your faith increases, our field among you 
may be greatly enlarged, I6 so that we may preach the gospel in 
lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in 
another's field. 17 "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." 
I8 For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, 
but the man whom the Lord commends. 

10:12 In Standards: A minister's methods must be sane and sensi- 
ble. They must conform to divine standards. Of course, the world's 
standard of what is sane and sensible is usually quite different from 
what the word of God categorizes as sane. In verse 12 Paul definitely 
says that human beings comparing themselves by other human beings 
in order to boast about themselves are "without understanding." 

Paul would not dare (Gr. ou polmomen, "be so bold") to class 
(Gr. engkrinai) or compare (Gr. sungkrinai, judge-with) himself with 
some of the ones who played the game of "self-comparing." In order 
to commend (Gr. sunistanonton, stand oneself with another to get 
favorable attention) themselves, some of the Corinthians had been 



331 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

practicing the art of human comparison. It is sometimes called "com- 
petition." 

Competition, or comparing oneself with others, is a very subtle, 
but damning, method some preachers use in their ministry. It is really 
a "dodge" or, in modern vernacular, "a cop-out." It is a well-used 
practice of many christians in order to justify their past sins or their 
anticipated ones. It goes, "Well, I'm not like so-and-so, who. . . ." 
Christians (including preachers) are to compare themselves with 
Christ. 

Evidently there were people in Corinth "comparing themselves 
with one another and measuring (Gr. metrountes, metric, meter, etc.) 
themselves with one another in order to commend themselves." There 
is a difference between using other human beings for ' 'comparison to 
commend oneself" and using them to "illustrate" proper behavior. 

When people play the "game" of "measuring oneself by others" 
they always select "others" who are, in their estimation, less than 
themselves. That makes the measurer come out ahead. The devil 
seduces preachers through the temptation to compete and be more 
"successful" than their peers. There is no status in the kingdom of 
God for any human being except servantl Why, then, should chris- 
tians compete?, Christian "measurements" for faithful service are not 
one another, but Christ Jesus. Since none of us ever measure up to 
that standard, we must trust in grace. Every servant of God is ap- 
proved by God because of Christ's grace. 

Surely, we are to "examine ourselves" and "test ourselves" (I 
Cor. 11:28; II Cor. 13:5; Gal. 6:4), but always by the divine standard. 
Human comparisons have no place as methods of ministry! Churches 
must not get in the game of "competitiveness." In too many people's 
minds the calling of a preacher or elder or teacher to serve the con- 
gregation is done by comparing people with people, instead of the 
Biblical standard. Jesus never rated people by comparing them to 
other people. The parable of the Pharisee and the publican is Christ's 
piercing denunciation of this "game" (Luke 18:9-16). 

Those who "measure themselves with themselves" are without 
understanding. The Greek words are ou suniasin, might be translated 
in modern vernacular, "do not have their act together." Such people 
are playing a fool's game and are only fooling themselves. This game 
never fools God, and seldom fools other people! It is insanity! 



332 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

10:13-18 In Scope: Some in Corinth were either measuring 
themselves by themselves to commend themselves, or were accusing 
Paul of doing so. Someone there was accusing Paul of bragging about 
exercising authority over a territory where he had done nothing, and 
should be doing nothing! They were boastfully declaring themselves as 
the only leaders or "apostles" (II Cor. 11:12-15) with rightful authori- 
ty in the Corinthian church. They were contending that Paul had no 
right to "meddle" in the affairs of the Corinthian church. 

Paul contends he has every right to exhort and instruct the Corin- 
thians because he was the first to come to them with the Gospel (Acts 
18:1 f f) . Paul will not brag or boast or meddle in territories where the 
Lord has not assigned ("limited" Gr. kanon, "canon, rule, standard, 
limits") him. God had ordered Paul to the territory of Corinth to 
evangelize (for a year and six months, initially, Acts 18:9-11). Where 
were all these "pseudo apostles" (II Cor. 11:13) when Corinth was be- 
ing evangelized? Where were they when all the persecution was being 
handed out (Acts 18:1-17)? Where were they when Paul and his co- 
workers were supporting themselves, taking no support from the Cor- 
inthians, in order to establish the church there? 

The trouble-maker in Corinth was "bragging" about all he had 
done for the church at Corinth, when all along its beginning and pre- 
sent stature in Christ (which still left much to be desired) was due to 
Paul's ministrations (in person, through co-workers, and through let- 
ters). This was Paul's rightful territory. He was ministering where 
God had assigned him. They were Paul's spiritual "field." One com- 
mentator has suggested that the word "overextending" (Gr. huperek- 
teinomen, "overstretch ourselves") is a figure of speech from the Isth- 
mian Games for which Corinth was famed throughout the Roman 
world. In these contests, as in modern track events, runners were re- 
quired to keep to the lane which had been marked off for them (see II 
Tim. 2:5). Paul's "lane" (or "limit") had been Corinth (and the Gen- 
tiles beyond) assigned to him by God. His opponents were "running in 
his lane" and disobeying the "rules" set forth by God. 

Had these "pseudo-apostles" (probably Judaizers) been building 
up the congregation in Corinth in faith and love in Jesus, Paul would 
not have written these "boasts' about his own work there. But they 
were not. They were tearing down. They were leading people "astray 
from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (11:3-4). God is the one 



333 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

who sets the "limits" (Gr. kanon, rules). Those who minister accord- 
ing to God's "limits" are those who really care for the Church and her 
members. Those who stay within the "lane" God has marked off and 
do not "stretch" themselves into other lanes are those who will endure 
hardship and sacrifice themselves for what is right! Others are only 
pretenders, "pseudo" ministers. 

Having settled the issue whether he is in his rightful "lane" or not 
as he writes corrective admonitions to the Corinthians, Paul expresses 
his hope that his edifying of them will increase their faith and thus 
"enlarge" his "field" among them. Actually, the RSV has not 
translated verse 15b well. The Greek phrase is, . . . elpida de echontes 
auxanomenes tes pisteos humon en humin megalunthenai kata ton 
kanona hemon eis perisseian, literally translated, ". . . but hope we 
are having, while growing the faith of you is, in you we will be magnified, 
according to the sphere ("limits") of us, in abundance. . . ."In other 
words, Paul was hoping that as his ministry to them increased their 
faith, his esteem ("magnification") would be enlarged in their hearts. 
Thus the problems in Corinth would be put to rest and he would be 
freed to "preach the gospel" in lands beyond them, and not have to 
spend his energies "boasting of work" he would have to do in Cor- 
inth. Paul's opportunity to preach in "lands beyond" hinged upon 
whether the Corinthians repented and restored him to the right honor 
and obedience he should have in their hearts. The disruption, 
divisiveness, and disobedience in the congregation at Corinth, caused 
by the trouble-maker (s), was hindering world evangelism. 

Paul knew that the method of a true servant of Christ and edifier 
of the church would necessitate healing and restorative work upon an 
ailing "body" of christians before he could go on to enlarge the 
"body" world-wide. He was not the kind of evangelist or missionary 
whose methodology was limited only to enlarging while disregarding 
the healing and edifying; and he was an apostle with an undeniable 
mandate for urgency in world-wide evangelism! Paul's modus operan- 
di covered every aspect of the ministry (exhorting, edifying, evangeliz- 
ing, instructing; polemics, apologetics, hermeneutics; administrative, 
pastoral, practical). He was, at the same time, doing cross-cultural 
missionary work, ministerial training work, and christian writing and 
publishing work. He did it all! Can you imagine what Paul could do 
for the Lord in today's global society through jet air travel, video and 



334 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

audio techniques, printing presses, computers, political freedoms and 
economic affluence of the U.S.??? 

The former Jewish rabbi (Paul) had a "magnificent obsession" — 
to "preach the gospel in lands beyond" (see Acts 19:21; Rom. 
15:18-29). In a world of 4.5 billion people there are 1653 Christian 
Church missionaries; 972 of those are on the North American conti- 
nent. That means there are 681 Christian Church missionaries trying 
to preach the New Testament message to almost four billion people. 
And of the 972 in North America, 829 are "missionaries" in the 
U.S.A.! There is one soldier for every eighty-three persons in the 
world; one doctor for every 1080 persons in the world; one evangelical 
missionary for every 90,000 persons in the world; one Christian 
Church missionary for every 2,722,324 persons in the world! The 
Christian Churches had 200 fewer missionaries in 1985 than they had 
in 1977! Did you know that 96% of christian finances are spent in the 
USA which comprises only 5% of the earth's population? Did you 
know the average American misplaces more money each year than the 
per-member contributions to a majority of U.S. church denomina- 
tions? According to the IRS, Americans who itemize their deductions 
give less than 3 % of their adjusted gross incomes to church and charity? 
It costs $256,000 per year to train a West Point cadet. It cost approx- 
imately $3500 per year to train a missionary at our loyal Bible col- 
leges! About one out of every one thousand Christian Church 
members is a missionary. Five hundred church members each giving 
$20 more per week to missions would make available $520,000 more 
per year for missions. If a husband- wife missionary team received 
$15,000 per year for missions, that would be about 70 more mis- 
sionaries supported right now. If one thousand church members in- 
creased their missions giving by $20 per week more to missions, that 
would double newly supported missionaries to 140 per thousand 
church members! One million membership of the Christian Church, 
giving $20 per week more to missions, could support a staggering 
number of 140,000 missionaries right now! Christians in the USA 
spend $20 per week on "junk food" that is not needed and probably 
harmful. There are 5103 languages in the world — 3418 of these have 
no portion of the Bible in their language. Can you imagine living and 
dying without ever having had the opportunity to read God's word in 
your own language? God help us to go with the gospel or send it "to 



335 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

the lands beyond"! 

The first three chapters of I Corinthians are the best commentary 
on II Corinthians 10:17-18! The words of I Corinthians 1:31 are exact- 
ly those of II Corinthians 10:17 (and both paraphrase Jer. 9:24). The 
Lord is the source of all that any man, believer or unbeliever, is, has, 
accomplishes, or retains eternally. Man has no right to boast in 
himself or any other human being. 

In verse 18 a basic principle of the christian life is asserted by the 
apostle as a summation of his defense for his methods of ministering 
to the Corinthians. It is not the one who brags about his own ac- 
complishments and virtues to gain some advantage over others who is 
"accepted" (Gr. dokimos, "approved, sanctioned, sustained, cer- 
tified). The true servant of the Lord has his ministry and its methods 
approved (vindicated) by the Lord's word. The genuine servant of the 
Lord is willing to have his ministerial methodology examined and cer- 
tified by the divine standard — the Bible. Paul's ministry to the Corin- 
thians was clearly proved to be commended by the Lord. The church 
itself, the converted people, was his "letter" of commendation (II 
Cor. 3:lff). Thus the Corinthian church should "look at what was 
before its eyes" (II Cor. 10:7) — they would not be seduced by 
"pseudo" leaders. 

The solution for problems with twentieth-century methods of 
ministry is the same as it was in the first century — let them be examin- 
ed and certified only by the divine standard! 



APPREHENSION: 

1 . What were some in the Corinthian church saying about Paul's dif- 
ferent expressions toward them? Why were they saying this? 

2. What is the meaning of the word "sarcasm"? Who uses it? 

3. Did Paul threaten to be "bold" toward the Corinthians? Why? 

4. If christians are not carrying on a worldly war, where is their war? 

5. Where are the other references in the Bible to the believer's "war- 
fare"? 

6. What are "worldly" weapons of warfare? 

7. What are "spiritual" weapons of warfare? 

8. Who are to use the "spiritual" weapons? When? On whom? 



336 



THE PROBLEM OF MINISTERIAL METHODS 

9. What power is in the christian's spiritual weapons? 

10. How did Paul prove that his ministerial methods were sanctioned 
by God? 

11. Why did Paul "boast" of his authority? 

12. Does the Bible tell preachers (other than apostles) to preach with 
"authority"? Where? Who? 

13. What were Paul's detractors saying about his "speech"? 

14. What did Paul mean when he wrote, "... they measure 
themselves by one another"? 

15. Why is such "measuring" said to be, "without understanding"? 

16. What was the "limit" beyond which Paul would not boast? 

17. What were the "lands beyond" where Paul planned to preach? 



APPLICATION: 

1. Do you ever use sarcasm, irony, satire, when you want to get 
across some helpful information to someone? Where? Would you 
ever use it in teaching a Sunday School lesson? How do you res- 
pond to the use of sarcasm? 

2. In your experience, is living the christian life like a war? 

3. Do you think christians ought to be made more aware of the 
"war -like" nature of the christian struggle? Or is being a christian 
not a struggle? 

4. Should teen-age christians be taught that being a christian is 
fighting a war? Who should teach them? How often? 

5. Do you think preachers and teachers are seriously, and expertly, 
waging the christian battle for the minds of people today? Why? 

6. What could be done to improve the war for the mind of man by 
the church? 

7. Do you really believe the Bible (the sword of the Spirit) is suffi- 
cient to overthrow every "fortified" and "exalted" argument 
which stands as an obstacle to man's knowing God today? 

8. Will the Bible overthrow the theory of evolution? Eastern 
mysticism? Mormonism, "Moonies," indifference, materialism, 
humanism? 

9. Could you use the Bible to do so? Have you? 

10. What other "spiritual" weapons might be used with the Bible to 



337 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

overthrow obstacles to knowing God? 

11. Does Christ really expect every thought of a human being to be 
"taken captive" and imprisoned to the direction of God? Do we 
have to think every thought like God tells us to think? 

12. Is it right to "frighten" people into obeying Christ? How do you 
respond to the preaching of judgment, hell, the fear of God? 

13. Do you know people who play the game of "measuring 
themselves by themselves" to commend themselves? Have you 
ever played this game? 

14. How does one quit the game of "measuring self with others" to 
commend oneself? 

15. Do you think there is a "competitive" spirit in Christianity? 
Should there be? 

16. Do you have any opportunities to extend your "ministry" into the 
"lands beyond" the USA? How? Are you? Will you? 



338 



Special Study 
The Restoration movement 

Introduction 

WHAT AN ASSIGNMENT! 

A. What is the Restoration Movement? This is like being asked 
to teach American History in 30 minutes! The two are, after 
all, chronological contemporaries, and to a great extent, 
philosophical brothers. 

B. I would love to go into the history of the Movement. It is in- 
spiring. And I love history anyway. Besides, I have a family 
heritage in this movement. My great grandfather and one of 
my great uncles were preachers in the Movement in the early 
days of the State of Missouri. My grandfather was a leader in 
the Christian Church in Dallas County, Mo., at the turn of 
the century, and my father and mother have been instrumen- 
tal in starting several new Christian churches in Missouri. 
The history of the Restoration Movement takes 64 hours of 
classroom lectures at OBC to teach. I know you don't want to 
stay here that long! 

C. I have reproduced a one-page chart showing the persons, cir- 
cumstances and principles of the Movement's origins. 
Perhaps that will whet your appetite to buy a book or two on 
the history and learn more about it. 

Let me recommend some books on the history of the Move- 
ment: 

1. The Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, by Robert 
Richardson, pub. Gospel Advocate Co., Nashville, Tenn. 

2. The Stone Campbell Movement, by Leroy Garrett, pub. 
College Press 

3. Christians Only, by James DeForest Murch, pub. Stan- 
dard Pub. Co. 

4. Concerning the Disciples, by P.H. Welshimer, Standard 
Pub. Co. 

D. I have chosen not to deal with history, but with TWO funda- 
mental principles. I believe that all who believe in Christ can, 
if the^. will, relate to these principles and seek to restore them 



339 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

in the church whether they believe and relate to the history of 
the movement or not. 

II. WHAT THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT IS NOT\ 

A. It is not a Reformation movement 

In a series of articles in the Christian Baptist beginning in 
1825, Alexander Campbell, writing under the title "Restora- 
tion of the Ancient Order of Things, ' ' said human systems are 
properly subjects of reform — they may be formed, reformed 
and re-reformed, but Christianity is not subject to reforma- 
tion. 

Christianity was given by the authority of Jesus Christ. It can- 
not be reformed because it was given in the beginning in the 
way in which Christ wanted it given. Christianity can only be 
restored. 

B. It is not a Church or a Denomination 

The Restoration Movement is not a new denomination — it is 
not a new church. The church of Christ existed long before 
this movement to return to apostolic Christianity began. 
It is a conviction that modern Christianity has deviated 
drastically from the pattern of worship, doctrine and polity of 
the church as outlined in the divine Word of God; it is a con- 
viction that Christianity as outlined in the Word ought to be 
and can be practiced by believers of this age or any age, and 
an attempt to do so! 

C. It is not Ecumenism — it is not a unity-at-any-price-movment. 
It is not an attempt to be interdenominational. 

This seems to be the limits of Christendom's categories. The religious 
world apparently does not believe the church can be restored to N.T. 
purity and practice and so we are constantly placed in one of the 
foregoing categories or another — BUT THE RESTORATION 
MOVEMENT IS NONE OF THE ABOVE. 

III. MY DEFINITION OF THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 
A. I think of it as a Repentance Movement 

1. The Repentance (or, if you prefer, Restoration) Move- 
ment began long before Alexander and Thomas Camp- 
bell. 



340 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

2. It began with the writers of the N.T. epistles 

3. It was being carried on in the last of the first century 
A.D. when Paul wrote to the Corinth, and when John 
wrote to the seven churches of Asia Minor and his 
epistles. 

B. The Epistles are exhortations to restore apostolic pattern and 
doctrine which had been proclaimed earlier through preaching 

1. There is a concept (rather superficial, I think) which says 
that since the N.T. scriptures were written after the 
church had existed for some 20-30 years, we cannot claim 
there is an apostlic pattern in the N.T. 

2. This view claims the N.T. was written only for correcting 
abuses. 

3. First, this view makes a difference between oral apostolic 
word and written apostolic word — and there is no dif- 
ference, in content or authority. 

4. Second, it would seem to me that if the written apostolic 
word was for the correction of abuses of apostolic pat- 
tern, we should expect to find the pattern in these correc- 
tions. 

We certainly won't find the pattern in the O.T. or in 
extra-Biblical writings, nor in the practice (at least not the 
divinely inspired pattern) of the church of the 2nd cen- 
tury. 

5. And that is just the point of this misconceived concept — 
it says there is no divinely inspired and recorded pattern 
for the N.T. church, especially in worship and polity. 

C. I believe there is a pattern for the church to follow in every 
age in the N.T. 

1. Pattern for prayer 

2. Pattern for stewardship 

3. Pattern for church discipline 

4. Pattern for observing the Lord's Supper 

5. Pattern for singing 

6. Pattern for evangelism 

7. Pattern for political and social relationships 

8. Pattern for church government 

9. Even a pattern for sermon content and delivery! (Reason- 



341 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ing from the scriptures about the Messiahship, Lordship, 
Deity of Christ) 

10. Pattern for membership in the church 

11. Pattern for training and support of a ministry 
(evangelists) 

I believe this pattern can be deduced from clear and une- 
quovical apostolic commands and/or precedents. 

D. It is not the fault of the New Testament that all who profess 
to believe in Christ have not tried to return to the apostolic 
pattern — 

1. It is the fault of those who profess to believe Christ! 

2. They have been unwilling to exert the hard effort to study 
the N.T. 

They have been unwilling to make the sacrifice necessary 
to give up preconceived and traditional notions 
Or some have been unwilling to surrender to the arbitrary 
pattern of the apostles. 

Let all who profess to believe in Christ and trust him for salvation, 
whether they have strayed away from the structure of the N.T. pattern 
or whether they have never admitted there is a N.T. pattern — let 
them focus their minds on the New Testament alone and surrender to 
its arbitrary authority, and they will find the apostolic pattern. TAKE 
HEED HOW YOU HEAR — THE RESPONSIBILITY IS WITH 
THE HEARER! 



Discussion 

FIRST PRINCIPLE, THE ARBITRARY AND EXCLUSIVE 
AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE 

A. The Bible all the way through, and especially the N.T., is em- 
phatic in its declaration that God's Word through his 
messengers is the only rule of faith and practice for believers. 
1. It is the Word, not men's traditions or opinions, which 
produces the life of the Holy Spirit, gives new birth, and 



342 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

matures people in Christ (Luke 8:11; John 6:63) 

2. Jesus made it plain to his apostles that they should pro- 
claim and bind on believers nothing more and nothing 
less than what the Holy Spirit would reveal to them. They 
would be led into all truth. 

3. Paul warned the Ephesian elders that false teachers 
would arise from among the believers attempting to lead 
the church astray, but as shepherds they should feed the 
flock of God on the Word. Paul commended them to 
God and the word of his grace which alone is able to 
build them up and give them an inheritance among the 
saints, Acts 20:29-32. 

4. Paul said preachers and teachers are not to tamper with 
God's Word (Gr. dolountes, means to mix or adulterate 
or "water down") II Cor. 4:2. 

5. Paul pronounced the curse of God upon any man or 
angel who should preach or teach any message other than 
the apostolic gospel (Gal. 1:8-9). THAT IS SERIOUS 
. . . ETERNALLY SERIOUS! 

6. Jude wrote that the faith was once for all delivered unto 
the saints, Jude 3, faith here has to mean doctrine-to-be- 
believed. 

If it was delivered once for all when Jude wrote (before 
80 A.D.) whatever gave theologians and denominations 
the authority to change it centuries afterward? 

7. The apostle John wrote clearly that every teacher should 
be tested against the apostolic doctrine, for many false 
teachers would go out, and whoever did not listen to the 
apostles was not of God (I John 4:1-6). 

8. John closed the last book of the whole Bible (Revelation) 
with these words. ..." Anyone who adds or takes away 
from these words . . ." Rev. 2:18 will receive the judg- 
ment of God as it is pictured in the Revelation. 

9. It is the Word that is: 

a. to judge men in the last day (John 12:48; Rom. 2:16) 

b. to be obeyed (II Thess. 1:8) 

c. instrumental in the new birth (I Pet. 1:20-23) 

d. equips the man of God for every good work (II Tim. 



343 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

3:16-17) 
e. to be preached in season and out — all the time (II 
Tim. 4:2) 

10. It is by keeping Christ's commandments that we; (I John) 

a. love God 

b. know we are in Christ and are born anew 

c. know Christ is in us 

d. know the spirit of truth vs. the spirit of error. 

1 1 . Paul makes it clear in I Cor. 2:1-16 that only the apostles 
received the mind of the Spirit in revelation and the 
apostles communicated it to men in human language. 
What therefore is not in the words of the apostles is not 
acceptable as a rule of faith and practice for the apostolic 
church. 

But, you see, this is precisely where the church (in its majority, 
anyway) deviated. Most of post-apostolic Christianity began to think 
it could not survive unless it broke out of the abritrary exclusiveness of 
apostolic revelation. The church, to survive, thought it had to ac- 
comodate its doctrine and practices to those who prefered less 
discipline, less sacrifice, less sanctification and thereby it would gain 
more adherents. MOST DECLARED THE CHURCH SHOULD, IN 
DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE, MODERNIZE, PROGRESS, 
LIBERALIZE TO KEEP UP WITH MAN'S EDUCATIONAL AND 
SOCIAL PROGRESSION AND LIBERALIZATION. 

The ironic thing about this view, besides it perverseness, is it inevitably 
polarizes Christendom! Accomodation of the Gospel to the world 
polarizes rather than unifies! 

B. The Movement to Restore Biblical Authority 

1. One may trace attempts to accomplish this from the 
earliest days of post-apostolic Christianity down to today 
in the history of Christendom. There is a constant golden 
thread of individuals and small, persecuted, oppressed 
groups of restorationists through the centuries. Even in 
the Dark Ages there were people laying down their lives 
to restore the Bible as authoritative in the life of the 



344 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

church. 

2. The Movement to Restore the church to apostolic pattern 
really began in America with James O'Kelly in 1792 in an 
attempt of his to gain some religious freedom from 
Methodist hierarchicalism. He held his N.T. aloft and 
said, "Brethren, hearken unto me, put away all other 
books and forms, and let this be the only criterion and 
that will satisfy me." (The Stone-Campbell Movement, 
p. 78, by Garrett). In Surry County, Va., August, 1794, 
at a meeting of people who could no longer conscien- 
tiously abide Methodism, the Christian Church was 
formed with 5 "Cardinal Principles" (Ibid, p. 81). No. 3 
being: "The Holy Bible . . . our only creed, and a suffi- 
cient rule of faith and practice." Rice Haggard joined 
O'Kelly at this time and became one of the Movement's 
leaders. 

THIS WAS A DECADE BEFORE AMERICA EVER 
HEARD OF STONE-CAMPBELL MOVEMENT, THIS 
WAS WHEN ALEXANDER CAMPBELL WAS STILL 
IN ENGLAND, A BOY OF 10. 

3. Barton W. Stone, also a leader in Restorationism long be- 
fore the Campbells, told the Kentucky Presbytery at his or- 
dination he would believe and practice the Westminster 
Confession "... as far as I see it consistent with the 
word of God." As a result, later, he had to withdraw 
from the Presbyterian church and form the Christian 
Church in Kentucky. (Ibid, p. 99) 

4. It was the practice of Thomas Campbell, even when a 
preacher in the Presbyterian church in Ireland, to consult 
only the Bible. (Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, by 
Robert Richardson, p. i. 39). 

5. Alexander Campbell wrote in his personal diary, Jan. 29, 
1809, "The word of God, which is contained in the Old 
and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we 
may glorify and enjoy him." (Ibid, p. 143). 

6. After Thomas Campbell had seceded from the Seceders 
(Presby. branch) he held a meeting near Washington, Pa. 
with those who were interested in his preaching, 1808, he 



345 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

announced to the gathering the basic rule upon which he 
and those joining him would henceforth act — "Where 
the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures 
are silent, we are silent." 

Upon this announcement a solemn silence pervaded the 
assembly. Never before (ace. to Richardson) had 
religious duty been presented to them in so simple a form. 
{Ibid, p. i. 236) 

7. A. Campbell said in a sermon before the Washington 
Association, 1 Nov. 1810: "Do not the Scriptures of 
truth furnish the only established law or way for Chris- 
tians, whether in an individual or church capacity, to 
walk to heaven in?" {Ibid, p. i. 340) 

8. Samuel Rogers (Restoration preacher) born in Virginia, 
1789, said that all the preaching he ever heard until he 
was a grown man was the readhing of the Bible by his 
mother to her children, was converted by Barton W. 
Stone, who "invited all to lay aside their creeds and take 
the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice. I was 
pleased with his preaching; it sounded like the truth — 
like the religion I had read of. He then gave me a Bible, 
saying, 'Preach its facts, obey its commands and enjoy its 
promises,' " {Ibid, ii. 332). 

9. As late as 1842, A. Campbell said, "The Bible alone must 
always decide every question involving the nature, the 
character or the designs of the Christian institution." 

THIS IS THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE. ALL THE REST OF 
THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT REVOLVES UPON THIS 
HUB, THIS FULCRUM! 

C. The Reason for Declaring this as an Emphatic Principle 

1. First, because it is the revealed truth of God. 

2. As a safeguard against Theologianism 

a. The Campbell's abhored the clergy-laity system of 
the denominations (not because they did not believe 
in a trained ministry) because of its prideful attempts 
to make clergymen exclusive interpreters of the Scrip- 



346 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

tures. Keeping the laity ignorant helped perpetuate 
sectarianism. 

b. Thomas Campbell put after his name, V.D.M. (Verbi 
Divini Minister or "minister of the Word of God.") 
A. Campbell used, V.D.S. (Verbi Divini Servus, or 
Servant of the Word of God). They prefered, 
"Brother." 

c. Campbell found the clergy in both Europe and 
America "opposed to reforms; ever on the alert to 
repress inquiry; ever seeking to exercise complete 
control over men's opinions, and ever ready to 
employ against opposition to their authority the un- 
christian weapons of detraction and persecution." 
Richardson, p. ii, 28. 

d. The clergy of each denomination arrogated to 
themselves the claim of being the Bible's divinely- 
authorized expounders. 

THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT MUST BE CONSTANTLY 
ON GUARD IN THIS AREA. LET US NOT SAY IT CAN't'hAP- 
PEN HERE — IT HAS HAPPENED HERE, RIGHT WITHIN THE 
MOVEMENT! LEADERS IN OUR BIBLE COLLEGES, IN OUR 
BROTHERHOOD PERIODICALS AND CONVENTIONS MUST 
FERVENTLY EXAMINE THEMSELVES AND PURGE OUT ANY 
TENDENCY TOWARD THIS. 

e. The membership of the churches have a responsibili- 
ty in this. Their responsibility is to not be Biblical il- 
literates but to be students of the Word. 

f . Here is where the Campus Ministry must shine. You 
should be impressing this fundamental upon the 
hearts of a future leadership from the pews and Sun- 
day School classes of our brotherhood. 

3. As a safeguard against Experientialism 

a. Experientialism is the theology of Main Street, USA. 
It is flooding our christian music; it is flooding our 
christian books; it is permeating our preaching. It is 
the same old Calvisim that the Restoration Move- 



347 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ment leaders came out of and had to struggle mighti- 
ly to call others out of. 

b. The first century church "reasoned from the Scrip- 
tures" with their audiences! 

c. The Restoration fathers had a mania for expository 
preaching and deductive logic from the Scriptures. 

d. Articles in the Christian Baptist by Campbell and 
Stone were constantly calculated to show that faith 
comes through testimony of the facts rather than 
through some subjective or mystical experience. 

e. In a sermon delivered on April 7, 1811, A. Campbell 
said, "All the promises in the sacred Scriptures are 
addressed to the understanding, and through it to the 
will. They appear to the understanding true, to the 
will as good." (Richardson, p. i. 377). 

f. Faith is not a "mysterious and undefined spiritual 
operation, or an instantaneous and miraculous il- 
lumination; it is simply a trusting in Christ, a sincere 
belief in the testimony and truth of God . . . reveal- 
ing itself in a willingness to keep God's command- 
ments, and a readiness to make before the world the 
acknowledgment of the Messiahship of Jesus ..." 
(Ibid, p. i. 408). 

g. A case in point was good old brother Samuel Rogers. 
One of the sweetest, humblest, most sacrificing of all 
the early preachers. He had joined the Stone move- 
ment. Born in 1789, he was christened a Methodist, 
but was immersed into Christ in 1812. He began to 
preach, but he was still leaving hundreds of mourners 
at the bench, as perplexed as they were by the subjec- 
tive nature of his approach to religion. 

He heard A. Campbell preach a 2 hour sermon in 
1825 when he was 37 years old and old Sam said as he 
spoke, "cloud after cloud rolled away from my 
mind . . . letting in upon my soul light and joy and 
hope that no tongue can express," (Garrett, p. 300). 
Sam told Robert Richardson that he thought he 
might have gone crazy but for A. Campbell ..." 



348 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

who taught him how to read it (Bible) in its connec- 
tion," {Ibid, 300). 
h. Now there is a literal flood of existential, experien- 
tialism about to sweep away true faith and replace 
the content of the Biblical message and practice with 
the autonomy of human feelings. It's sources are 
human preoccupation with "fadism" — what is 
religiously chic is what attracts people; faulty 
hermeneutics — Bible teachers and preachers are 
simply too lazy or pre-occupied to take the time or 
make the effort necessary to produce sound reason- 
ing from the Scriptures; and a spiritual schizophrenia 
that doesn't want to face the hard realities of per- 
sonal responsibility to do right but wants to make 
some subjective, outside agent (like the Holy Spirit) 
culpable for one's disobediences. 

4. As a safeguard against Pragmatism. 

a. There is also a pernicious cancer creeping into the 
Restoration Movement today that says, "If it works, 
it must be Biblical." I do not know whether the early 
Restorationists had to contend with it or not — I 
suspect they did. Later one's certainly did in connec- 
tion with missionary organizations, evangelistic 
methods, etc. 

b. I do know it is a philosophy practiced today in prac- 
tically every area of the life of the church: 
evangelistic methods which are unethical and not in 
harmony with precepts and principles taught in 
Scripture; methods in fund raising; music; atten- 
dance; etc. (Let us read II Cor. 2:17 about "peddlers 
of God's word" and II Cor. 4:2 about "disgraceful, 
underhanded ways, practicing cunning and tamper 
with God's word. . . .") 

5. As a safeguard against Latitudianarism. 

a. Proposition 1 of the Declaration and Address reads: 
"That the Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, 
intentionally and constitutionally one; consisting of 
all those in every place that profess their faith in 



349 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Christ and obedience to him in all things according to 
the Scriptures, and that manifest the same by their 
tempers and conduct; and of none else can be truly 
and properly called Christians, 

b. Early Restorationists knew Christian union could be 
accomplished only in one of two ways — either in 
and through the truth and upon principle, or by com- 
promise and accomodation. 

c. Thomas Campbell said, "Let us do as we are there 
expressly told they did (the apostles), say as they said; 
that is, profess and practice as therein expressly en- 
joined by precept and precedent, in every possible in- 
stance, after their approved example." 

d. But there is a contagion of compromise infecting the 
Movement today. Clear commands and practices of 
the N.T. church are being either disregarded or disar- 
ranged for the sake of numerical growth or the favor 
of those opposed to Restoration principles. 

Brethren, the Bible alone as the sufficient rule of faith and practice for 
christians is not just a principle of the Restoration Movement — IT IS 
A DIVINE IMPERATIVE — It is incontrovertible and inescapable! 

AND WE HAVE NOT YET ATTAINED! YOU ARE IN A 
CRUCIAL POSITION TO PASS THE TORCH TO THE NEXT 
GENERATION OF CHRISTIAN THINKERS AND 
LEADERS . . . MAKE SURE THIS LIGHT OF THE BIBLE 
ALONE IS BURNING BRIGHTLY! 

II. SECOND PRINCIPLE, THE UNITY OF ALL BELIEVERS IN 
CHRIST 

A. The New Testament commands the unity of all believers (as a 
matter of fact, even the O.T. forbids division within the 
brotherhood of believers — Psa. 133:1; Gen. 13:8). 
1. Christ poured out his deepest feelings and longings in 

prayer for such unity. John 17: Iff 

ONENESS, such as Christ and the Father manifested is 

the goal our Lord seeks in His church. 



350 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

It is not simply cooperation, toleration, or agreeableness 
the Lord desires, but ONENESS. 
Man's proper relationship to Christ is portrayed in both 
O.T. and N.T. as a marriage, the joining of two into one! 

2. Informed of quarreling and partyism in the church at 
Corinth, Paul wrote by the authority of the Lord Jesus 
Christ that there be no dissensions among them, but that 
they be united (Gr. katartizo, jointed, fitted together) 
completely in the same mentality and same knowledge 
(opinion), (I Cor. 1). 

IS CHRIST DIVIDED? WOULD CHRIST FIGHT OR 
QUARREL WITH HIMSELF? 

Spiritual, mental oneness in the body of Christ is not op- 
tional — it is demanded! 

3. Paul wrote the Ephesian Church that unity was their call- 
ing as the body of Christ. To answer this call would take 
all lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearance and love. 
The Ephesians are instructed to give diligence (Gr. 
spoudazo, "see to it; take care of it; be eager; do it 
now"), to keep the unity (Gr. henotes, oneness) of the 
Spirit in the bond (Gr. desmos, string, rope, chain, band 
or binding) of peace. 

The peace which Christ obtained for us from God (recon- 
ciliation to God) is that which binds us to every other 
reconciled brother. 

WE ARE NOT TO BE BOUND TOGETHER 
BECAUSE WE DESERVE IT, OR BECAUSE WE ARE 
INNATELY CAPABLE OF IT, BUT BECAUSE WE 
ARE BOUND IN THE MERIT OF CHRIST. 
We are to receive (Gr. proslambano, take to oneself) one 
another as Christ has received us — by grace and 
forgiveness, Rom. 15:lff. Paul told the Ephesians, there 
is one body and one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one 
faith, one baptism, one God. THE PRIMARY FUNC- 
TIONING OF THE SEVERAL PARTS OF THE BODY 
IS TO DEVELOP (GROW IN) THIS ONENESS! 
Spiritual coordination must be developed — it is there 
but it must be exercised to grow. 



351 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

IT REQUIRES: TEACHING, MINISTRY, 
KNOWLEDGE, MATURATION, STATURE, SPEAK- 
ING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, AND THE WORKING 
OF EVERY PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST — 
NOT JUST A FEW! 

When honest-hearted and spiritually-minded people get disgusted with 
the frustrations, contradictions and insecurities of religious sec- 
tarianism — and when they decide to turn to the Bible and the Bible 
alone for the answer — THEY ARE FORCED TO THE CONCLU- 
SION THAT THE ONENESS OF ALL MEN IN CHRIST IS THE 
ONE GREAT MISSION OF THE CHURCH! It was God's plan that 
in Christ He would unite all things in heaven and earth in Him (Eph. 
1:9-10). 

UNITY IS EVANGELISM, MISSIONS, STEWARDSHIP, WOR- 
SHIP, EDIFICATION. 

B. The Restoration Movement is dedicated to proclaiming and 
practicing this command of Christ for the oneness of all men 
who shall believe in Him. 

1 . Thomas Campbell found that when he wanted to restore 
the authority of God's word in faith and practice for 
believers, sectarian jealousy was bitter in opposition and 
protective of divisions. 

2. T. Campbell decided to do something about that.. He 
wrote his Declaration and Address for the Washington 
Association. Its objective, described in the first article, 
was "for the sole purpose of promoting simple, 
evangelical Christianity, free from all mixture of human 
opinions and inventions of men." 

The Address concerns itself first with pointing out that 
the "grand design" and "native tendency" of the Chris- 
tian religion is toward unity. That is what Paul said in 
Eph. 1:9-10! 

If the church is essentially one, then to speak of a divided 
church is a contradiction of terms. If it is intentionally 
one, to divide it is to disobey the intentions of Christ. If it 



352 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

is constitutionally one, it implies conformity to a plan or 
constitutional (Biblical) organization which must be in- 
herent in it. 

Robert Richardson says in Memoirs of A. Campbell: 
". . . it is not upon any general principle, or even by the 
adoption of a few particular truths, that a real Christian 
uinon can be established . . . that alone which unites the 
human soul to Christ can unite Christians to one 
another ... a sincere determination to follow the truth 
withersoever it would lead," (p. i. 401). 
THREE FUNDAMENTALS TO UNITY 
In matters of faith (that which is clearly commanded by 
Christ or practiced by the church in the divine record as a 
matter necessary to be joined to Christ and his church) — 
the Bible and the Bible alone! 

In matters of opinion (that which is not commanded by 
Christ or clearly practiced by the church in the divine 
record as a matter necessary to be joined to Christ and his 
church) — liberty! 

In all things love (even the love that would give up one's 
own liberties and opinions for the sake of a brother's 
edification). 

It was in 1832 when Campbell and Stone agreed to unite 
their movements that Raccoon John Smith stood up to 
speak at Lexington, Ky. He spoke concerning the 
desirability and practicality of unity. Desirable because 
Jesus prayed for it and the apostles enjoined it. Practical 
in that God has but one family upon earth and that fami- 
ly is to be united upon the one Book. But union in Jesus is 
not an amalgamation of sects, and a union of sects would 
never bless either the church or the world. Since unity 
upon any system of human inventions is both impossible 
and undesirable, the only union that is practical and 
desirable must be based upon the Word of God as the on- 
ly rule of faith and practice. 

Raccoon Smith said he was willing to surrender any opin- 
ion for the sake of unity, but he would not surrender one 
fact, commandment, or promise of the gospel for the 



353 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

whole world. 

5. The Restoration Movement leaders believed that people 
(sincerely believing in Christ) can all agree on the general 
truths and facts of Christianity, and it is only here that unity 
is possible. "That alone which saves men can unite them." 

C. Clearly, the Restoration Movement made spectacular pro- 
gress in calling sincere believers to oneness on these themes 150 
years ago. But in the last 70-80 years the Movement to bring 
oneness to all believers has settled into a rut and is actually 
losing ground. Why? 

1. Christian church people generally speaking are Biblically 
illiterate. 

a. There are some happy exceptions to this. And, by 
and large, Christian church people are better students 
of the Bible than many other church people. 

b. But compared with people of olden days of the 
Movement, we are illiterate. 

c. There are many forces contributing to this illiteracy 
— materialistic affluence and gadgets that occupy the 
time people used to devote to reading their Bibles. 
The Uniform Lesson practice of jerking scriptures 
out of context and churches and Sunday Schools not 
studying the Bible properly. 

Hermeneutically lazy preachers and Sunday School 
teachers. 

Richardson says: "To put an end to religious con- 
troversy had been one of the chief aims of the 
Restoration proposed by Thomas Campbell. It was 
his conviction that, if men would adopt the Bible as 
the only standard of religious truth, and accept the 
meaning of its words as determined simply by the 
rules of language, its true sense would be sufficiently 
obvious, and there would be universal agreement in 
relation to the things which is revealed." 

A. Campbell in his debate with McCalla said: "The infallible rule of 
interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself . . . and there is but 
one meaning in every passage of Scripture, and that one meaning must 



354 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 

be always found from its context." Campbell believed that by means 
of these two principles, that Scripture is comprehensible even by the 
unlearned, and that its sense is always One, all believers could be 
united in One body in Christ. 

BUT FOR SOME REASON MANY CHRISTIAN CHURCH PEO- 
PLE TODAY HAVE BEEN SEDUCED WITH THE MODERN 
CALVINSIM THAT ANY SCRIPTURE MAY MEAN ONE THING 
TO ONE PERSON AND ANOTHER THING TO ANOTHER PER- 
SON, DEPENDING UPON THEIR EMOTIONS OR NEEDS OR 
BACKGROUNDS. 

THUS THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT, TO WHICH PROPER 
HERMENEUTICS AND EXPOSITORY PREACHING ARE LIFE- 
BLOOD, IS LOSING ITS LIFE! 

2. Christian church people are almost totally ignorant (ex- .. 
cept for its trained ministry) of the heritage and history of 
the Restoration Movement. 

a. Not that our salvation comes from the Restoration 
Movement 

b. But those fundamental principles which are so 
uniquely appealing to a denominational world 
frustrated and enslaved by division are not being pro- 
claimed. 

c. Christians are being seduced by a laissez faire at- 
titude toward denominationalism. Do not interfere; 
let them alone; they are alright to keep on setting 
themselves apart by their distinctive names, struc- 
tures, non-Biblical doctrines and practices. 

d. Of course, most people trying to follow Christ in 
denominational structures are not enemies, but, as 
Carl Ketcherside says, "they are hostages needing to 
be freed — not enemies to be destroyed." 

BRETHREN, THIS IS A CHALLENGE TO YOU AND TO US 
(HERE AT THE BIBLE COLLEGE). IT IS A CHALLENGE TO 
OUR CHURCHES, ESPECIALLY, THAT MORE TEACHING 
AND PREACHING NEEDS TO BE DONE EMPHASIZING 



355 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

THESE GREAT PRINCIPLES AND THE HERITAGE OF THE 
RESTORATION MOVEMENT. 

SOMETHING PRACTICAL SHOULD BE DONE IN EVERY 
CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN THE WORLD ... A CLASS, OR A 
SERIES OF SERMONS OR LESSONS, EVERY YEAR, OUGHT 
TO BE GIVEN TO ALL AGES OF CHRISTIANS, FROM HIGH 
SCHOOL UP, ON THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT AND ITS 
PRINCIPLES. 

3. Then there is the division within this Movement itself 
which presents to the world and to denominationalists an 
easy source of ammunition by which to disparage the 
cause of Christian oneness. 

a. One part of the division has its roots in liberalism, 
modernism and unbelief. 

Christian oneness with those who disavow the deity 
of Christ and the Scriptures as the arbitrary and final 
authority is impossible until they become believers. 

b. Another part of the division is over a matter of opin- 
ion. W.K. Pendleton said that error alone, however 
gross, is not heresy; but heresy is rather malignity or 
perverseness of disposition. Heresy is more of a 
behavioral problem than a doctrinal one. 

Heresy is the tyranny of opinionism, the attitude that 
you must accept my opinion and swear by it as your 
faith. It is not the error of the opinion that is heresy, 
but what you seek to make of it — a test of 
fellowship, and faith. 

c. How can the Restoration Movement ever hope to 
convince the denominational world that a return to 
the Bible alone will produce the oneness of all 
believers Christ prayed for unless the Movement 
itself practices what it professes?! IN SOME 
PLACES THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 
HAS BECOME A DENOMINATIONAL 
RETRENCHMENT! 

THERE IS MUCH FOR US TO DO WITHIN OUR 
OWN BACKYARD! 



356 



THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT 



Conclusion 



Alexander Campbell, Address to Reformers, in Millennial Harbinger, 
Sept. 1831 

"The ground assumed in the proposed reformation (restoration) is the 
highest ground which can be assumed at any time or under any cir- 
cumstances, and it is the only rational and lawful ground which 
human ingenuity and Christian integrity can propose. It is not a 
restoration of primitive Methodism, Lutheranism, Calvinsim, 
Quakerism; but a restoration of primitive Christianity in faith, senti- 
ment, and practice — in religion, morality, economy, manners, and 
customs. If we fail it cannot be in the object proposed; for in this no 
people can excel us — none can claim higher, more rational, or more 
Scriptural ground." 

The gospel we preach is not that which is defined by the Campbells, or 
even that which was practiced in evanglism by Walter Scott, except as 
they were restoring divine truth. The gospel is that message and action 
delivered and declared by apostolic and prophetic messengers. We are 
restoring Scriptural truths, not some nineteenth-century theory or 
theology. We should love the brotherhood of believers — not simply a 
movement. 

Restoration is more than a movement. It is the Scriptural means of 
producing spiritual unity among men. It is the basis of returning the 
sinner to God. It is the means of reinstating the wayward Christian. It 
is a way of life, a Christian commitment, a Spirit -guided devotion that 
moved men in the 19th century and is still moving men in the 20th cen- 
tury. , 

The Restoration Movement is a calling of all who take the name of 
Christ to constant repentance — to a discipleship of learning and 
returning in heart and mind to the faith once for all delivered to the 
saints. 

The Restoration movement does not have a monopoly on truth. It 
does profess that the movement is doing its best to restore divine 
names and Scriptural practice. The ideal is still needed today and we 
must commit our lives and our churches to the privilege of restoration. 
A. Campbell had one theme which, it is said, continually consumed 



357 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

his thinking processes: "Christianity — its foundation is facts, not 
theory; its design, the conversion of the world; and its great moving 
principles, faith and love." 

Walter Scott wrote in his book, The Messiahship, or Great 
Demonstration, pp. 13-14. 

"In Christianity, the two great generalizations are Christ and His 
religion. His Messiahship rests on power, and His religion on authori- 
ty. The former is, of course, the problem; the latter, the dogma. In the 
Scriptures, the Messiahship is never placed on authority, but on 
proof; and the doctrine, on the contrary, is never placed on proof, but 
on authority; the reason for which is this: It being there proved that 
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, it is consequently assumed that 
nothing He teaches can possibly be false. The strongest argument 
which can possibly be offered for the truth of His doctrine is, 
therefore, this: Magister dixit — Christ taught it." 

John Oxenham's Bees In Amber 

Not what, but WHOM, I do believe, 

That in my darkest hour of need, 
Hath comfort that no mortal creed to mortal man may give — 

Not what, but WHOM! 

For Christ is more than all the creeds 

And His full life of gentle deeds 

Shall all the creeds outlive. 
Not what I do believe, but WHOM! 



358 



Chapter Eleven 

The Problem of Slander 
(11:1-33) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1 . What is slander? Why are preachers slandered? 

2. Why would a man like Paul be slandered as "unskilled in 
speaking"? 

3. How did Paul "rob" the Corinthian church? 

4. What "disguise" did the "false apostles" use? 

5. Why did Paul "boast" if doing so was repugnant to him? 



Section 1 

Unarticulative (11:1-6) 

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do 
bear with me! 2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed 
you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. 
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, 
your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devo- 
tion to Christ. 4 For if some one com6s and preaches another 
Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different 
spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different 
gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily 
enough. 5 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these 
superlative apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am 
not in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in 
all things. 

11:1-4 Unsophisticated: Although the word "slander" is not used 
in this chapter, that is the burden Paul addresses here. There is no lack 
of evidence that Paul was "slandered" throughout his life as a chris- 
tian (see Acts 22:30; 23:28-29; 24:2, 8, 13; 25:5, 11, 16, 18; 26:2, 7; 
Rom. 3:8). The word "slander," in Greek, is diabolos, or "devil," 
(see I Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 2:3). The Greek noun is from the 



359 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

verb diaballo, "to throw through, to thrust through, to accuse, 
slander, defame." There were "false apostles" at Corinth who had 
"slandered" Paul to the congregation there. These slanderers were 
probably Judaizers, who came from Jerusalem, claiming "authority" 
because of their origins. At the same time they were trying to 
"deceive" the Corinthians, by their "cunning" that Paul had not 
shown the proper credentials to be trusted as a "true" apostle. Their 
first slanderous innuendo seems to be that Paul's approach and his 
message was too "simple" ("sincere" 11:3). Their accusation seems 
to be that Paul was unsophisticated and unarticulate. And how does 
Paul answer this slander? By a "little foolishness"! 

In Paul's mind, he was acting foolishly when he had to "boast" 
about his accomplishments in the ministry. The Greek word translated 
"fool" or "foolish" or "madman" (11:1, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23) is 
aphrona which literally means, "out of one's mind" or "brainless." 
Throughout these last four chapters Paul says he is doing what he 
despises. He apologizes every time he has to do so. 

The only reason he now "boasts" of anything (he actually takes 
pride only in weaknesses) is that he knows the important point is not 
his own dignity, but the dignity and honor of Christ and his Church 
which is at stake. He is therefore willing to lower himself in his own 
eyes and do what was very distasteful for him in order to rescue these 
christians from seduction by false teachers. 

Satirically, he reminds the Corinthians they "gladly bear with 
fools . . . even if a man make slaves of you, or preys upon you, or 
takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the 
face . . ." (11:19-20). He begs them to grant him the same indulgence. 
He wants to spread only a "little" (Gr. mikron, microscopic, tiny) 
"foolishness." While some people think of the humble, self- 
sacrificing and spiritually-minded preacher or missionary as a "fool" 
for "giving up so much" and being so "holy," the same people "bear 
with" actual "fools" (false teachers) who tell them what they want to 
hear. Paul wrote to Timothy and explained why people are so "silly" 
as to willingly enslave themselves to exploiters, who seduce them with 
sophistry and insult ("slap in the face") (see II Tim. 3:1-9) them. It is 
incredible, but there are people eager to be fooled or follow fools (see 
Isa. 30:9-11; Micah 2:6, 11; 3:5; I Tim. 4:1-5; II Tim. 4:3-5; II Pet. 
2:lff). 



360 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

Paul was willing to stoop to the game of "fools" because he had a 
"divine" (Gr. theou, "godly") jealousy for the Corinthians. He had 
"betrothed" (Gr. hermosamen, the word from which we get the 
English word harmony, harmonized, it means, "join, unite, fit 
together, marry") them to Christ as a "pure bride" (Gr. hagnen Par- 
thenon, "holy virgin"). Paul had not merely "engaged" them to 
Christ, he "married" them. He had united them in the ultimate rela- 
tionship — humanity to deity, deity to humanity. There could be no 
better relationship to Christ. Certainly, the law of Moses could only 
enslave them — not "marry" them. If being "foolish" joining in the 
"foolish" game of comparing credentials and affectionate love would 
save the Corinthians from seduction, hesitant as he was, Paul would 
do so. 

The spirit of the devil was at work in Corinth. That is the way Paul 
evaluated the situation. He knew the work of these "super" "pseudo- 
apostles" was like that of the old "Snake" (Satan) when he deceived 
(Gr. exepatesen, tricked, cheated, seduced) Eve in the Garden of 
Eden. The devil is cunning (Gr. panourgia, lit. "all-working," adroit, 
dexterous, expert, artful, cagey). And notice where he attacks! He at- 
tacked Eve at the most crucial point of spirituality — the mind, the 
thoughts. That is why Paul's statement about the "weapons" of 
spiritual warfare (10:3-5) are so significant! They all deal with the 
mind — overthrowing arguments and proud obstacles to the 
knowledge of God and taking captive every thought to obey Christ. 
The devil "led" Eve's thoughts astray — he was about to lead the 
Corinthian's thoughts astray from a sincere and pure devotion to 
Christ. The devil would deceive the Corinthians through "his ser- 
vants" who "disguised themselves as messengers of light" (11:12-15). 
John R. Stott says in his concise little book, The Mind Matters: 

Faith is not optimism. Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons 
thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God ... in 
Scripture, the deceit of the mind is commonly laid down as the principle 
of all sin. . . . Clear Biblical knowledge of God's will is the first secret 
of a righteous life. . . . The battle is nearly always won in the mind. It is 
by the renewal of our mind that our character and behavior become 
transformed. . . . Self-control is primarily mind-control. What we sow 
in our minds we reap in our actions. . . . Men's minds need to be fed 
just as much as their bodies. . . . And the kind of food our minds 
devour will determine the kind of persons we become. 



361 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

The word sincere is from the Greek word haplotetos which means, 
"simple, sincere, open, elementary, unsophisticated." The devil was 
about to lead astray (Gr. phthare, seduce, beguile) the thoughts of the 
Corinthians from the simplicity of the gospel, this is the way the devil 
works. He does not now attack bodies. He brings no irresistible force 
to bear upon people. He plants cleverly twisted thoughts in people's 
minds by words. And he is expert at "turning" a word to deceive. He 
is adroit at using words to make falsehood appear to be truth. What 
the devil told Eve was clearly false. Eve was not defenseless. God's 
true word had been spoken to her. But what the devil's words prom- 
ised was immediate and pleasurable "stroking" of the fleshly nature 
and Eve chose that. Satan deceived her into believing that what God 
had said to her was too simple! And any preacher today who pro- 
claims God's word as the answer to life's ultimate and most perplexing 
problems will be accused of being "too simplistic"! People have been 
seduced by the master-liar (Satan) that life is too complex, too am- 
biguous, too paradoxical, too sophisticated to be lived in conformity 
to the Bible. And this would have been the argument of the Judaizers. 
Paul taught that living free, under the compulsion and constraint of 
infinite grace, was sufficient for joy and fulfillment. Peter said that 
through a knowledge of Christ and his promises God had provided all 
things that pertain to life and godliness and even provided the way for 
man to become a partaker of the divine nature (II Pet. 1:3-5). But the 
Judaizers said that was too simplistic — that Paul was teaching people 
to sin (Rom. 3:8) — that people need to be regimented under the laws 
of Moses to survive the complexities of life. 

When the Corinthians were "bearing with" the "super" apostles, 
they were "bearing with" another Jesus (Gr. allon, another of the 
same kind). The Judaizers believed that Jesus was the Messiah, as 
Paul did. But they taught that Jesus came to establish Judaism, not to 
vicariously fulfill the law and abrogate it. The difference was not in 
the history of the person Jesus, but in the role he was to fulfill as 
Messiah. There are those today who do much the same thing with 
Jesus. While they admit his historical existence in the past, they reject 
his substitutionary death as atonement for man's sins — they present 
him as an example to follow in living a life of self-righteous goodness 
in order to be justified before God. That is "another" Jesus! It is cun- 
ningly and deceitfully constructed. 



362 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

They were also "bearing with" those of a different (Gr. heteron, 
from hetero- "another of a different kind") spirit and a different 
gospel. It is interesting that Paul uses the word "spirit" (Gr. pneuma) 
in connection to his opponents. In the context he is talking about 
those who are as "the serpent" (the devil) was with Eve. In other 
words, the Judaizers brought with them (or in them) the "spirit" of 
the devil when they came to Corinth. It is possible, then, for people to 
have "the evil spirit" of the devil without being "possessed" in a 
"miraculous" way such as were the "demon possessed" in the 
Gospels and Acts. Demon possession was unique to the public 
ministry of Christ and the twelve apostles, but does not seem to have 
been a phenomenon lasting beyond the apostolic first century (see our 
Special Study on demon possession in The Gospel of Luke, pp. 
153-156, College Press). But the main thrust of the devil's war against 
man has been to capture his mind (thoughts). If the devil can "lead 
astray" or "seduce" the mind of a person, he does not need to possess 
his body. The human body is doomed to return to dust. But the 
"spirit" (mind) is immortal and that is what Satan wants to bring 
down to hell with him. The devil can get into people without using 
demons! 

There is no "gospel of another kind" in reality (see Gal. 1:6-9). 
"Gospel" means "good news." What the Judaizers preached was a 
"gospel" of law. Law condemns — it does not show mercy and 
forgiveness. But the Judaizers claimed that what they preached was 
the "gospel" of God. They claimed it was the only true gospel. Paul 
called their "gospel" the "dispensation of death" (II Cor. 3:1-18)! 

While they were slandering Paul as unsophisticated — too 
simplistic in message — and those who accepted him as an apostle as 
"fools," Paul was implying that those who accepted the message of 
the Judaizers were being "fooled." They submitted (Gr. anechesthe, 
"put-up-with," endure) readily enough to the "foolishness" of the 
spirit of the devil, and the preaching of another Jesus and another 
gospel, so they might well put-up-with a tiny bit of "foolishness" 
from Paul! 

11:5-6 Unskilled: Not only was Paul unarticulate because of the 
simplicity of his message, said the Judaizers, he was also unskilled in 
speech. The first thing Paul does to reply to this slander is state that he 
"reckoned" (Gr. logizomai, reason, think, reckon) he "came behind" 



363 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

in nothing (Gr. meden husterekenai, "not inferior") compared to 
these "superlative" apostles (Gr. huperlian apostolon, from lian and 
huper, "exceedingly-beyond," or "super-duper"). Either the 
Judaizers were representing themselves as "super" apostles because 
they were from Jerusalem and had some credentials they believed were 
lacking in Paul, or Paul was using sarcasm in calling them "super." 
Perhaps it was both! Did they have credentials? Paul's were in no way 
inferior to theirs (II Cor. 12:12). Did they say they cared about the 
church in Corinth? Paul had shown his care was undebatable (11:2, 7, 
8, 9, 28; 12:13, 14, 15, 19, etc.). 

Next, Paul admitted he might be "unskilled" in speaking com- 
pared to the world's adoration of oratorical eloquence, but he was not 
"unskilled" in knowledge. The word "unskilled" in Greek is idiotes 
(from which we get the English word, idiot, idiotic). This word began 
by meaning a private individual who took no part in public life. It 
went on to mean someone with no technical training. True, Paul was 
not a graduate of the Greeks schools of oratory. He was not a glib- 
tongued rhetorician who could entertain, mesmerize, or seduce with 
words. He was not in that business! They accused him of being inade- 
quate, unschooled, inferior and therefore, not to be listened to. 

Paul never pretended or claimed oratorial skill (see I Cor. 1:17-25; 
2:1-16). The gospel is actually "emptied of its power" by oratorical 
ostentation and philosophical sophistication. The gospel is fact, not 
oratory or myth. It is history — the eyewitnessed evidence of the in- 
carnation of God. It needs simply to be reported, transmitted, an- 
nounced — not orated! Jesus thanked God that his word was "hid- 
den" from the "wise" but revealed to "babes" Matthew 11:25-30. 
"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!" That is the 
simplicity of the "good news." 

He was not "unskilled" or without technical knowledge of the 
gospel of grace! Paul had made plain (Gr. phanerosantes, manifested, 
cleared) all things (Gr. pasiri) in every way (Gr. enpanti) to the Corin- 
thians. His "First" Corinthian letter alone makes plain every doctrine 
or practice or principle necessary to the christian life! We know he 
must have preached and taught many more words to the Corinthians 
besides those he wrote. They should never have been deceived by 
anyone who would accuse Paul of being unarticulate! He was able to 
communicate the facts of the Gospel well enough to convert 



364 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

thousands of people. 

One does not need skill or eloquence to communicate the gospel. 
There is a difference between being skilled in oratory and being skilled 
in knowledge. Preachers do not need eloquence, but they do need 
knowledge. People who are asking questions of the soul and spirit do 
not want entertainment or oratorical showmanship, they want 
soberness, seriousness, facts, reasonableness, concern, love and kind- 
ness. One may have eloquence with deficiency in knowledge and be in- 
adequate for God's use. On the other hand, one may have knowledge 
and be deficient in eloquence and still be very useful in the Lord's 
work. Paul converted many people, though "unskilled in speaking," 
because he went where people were who had not heard the gospel, and 
taught it. He was not afraid to declare it wherever he was (to kings, 
philosophers, rabbis, to the hostile and the heedful), and to whomever 
he confronted. He was bold, blunt and believable. He was captivated 
by Christ and concerned for the growth of the kingdom of God. He 
was urgent and unashamed] What did Paul preach? Read the book of 
Acts. He preached Christ, him crucified, risen from the dead, judg- 
ment, repentance, grace, baptism into Christ. He had no time to waste 
on mythologies, politics, economics, the weather, entertainment, or 
fads and fancies. He traveled a lot! He wrote a lot! He studied a lot! 
He worked (making tents) a lot! And he preached and taught when 
there were opportunities and made opportunities where there were 
none! Knowing the terror of the Lord, he "persuaded" men (II Cor. 
5:11). 



SECTION 2 

Unassertative (11:7-15) 

7 Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be 
exalted, because I preached God's gospel without cost to you? 8 I 
robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order 
to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in want, I did 
not burden any one, for my needs were supplied by the brethren 
who came from Macedonia. So I refrained and will refrain from 
burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this 



365 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 
H And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 

12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine 
the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted 
mission they work on the same terms as we do. ,3 For such men 
are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as 
apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises 
himself as an angel of light. ,5 So it is not strange if his servants 
also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end 
will correspond to their deeds. 

11:7-11 Undignified: Paul expresses shock! He had done 
something that made his detractors in Corinth slander him as if he had 
committed a gross sin (Gr. harmartian, "miss the mark"). He had 
"humbled" (Gr. tapeinon, lowly mindedness) himself and preached 
the gospel of God without cost to them! That is,he did not take finan- 
cial support from Corinth (see II Cor. 12:13-18; I Cor. 9:15-18). Ac- 
cording to ancient Greek culture, it was beneath a "freeman's" digni- 
ty to work with his hands. In that society teachers were supposed to 
make money out of teaching. Augustus Caesar is reported to have 
paid Verrius Flaccus, the rhetorician, an annual salary of approx- 
imately $500,000. Every town in the Roman empire was entitled to 
grant complete exemption from all civic burdens and taxes to a certain 
number of teachers of rhetoric and literature. 

Paul figuratively "robbed" (Gr. esulesa, one who plunders openly 
and by violence) other churches (Macedonian brethren, see Phil. 
4:15-18) by accepting "support" (Gr. opsonion, "meat,bread, provi- 
sions for an army, or a soldier's pay") from them. He undoubtedly 
worked at his own tent-making craft to support himself. This he did to 
better "serve" (Gr. diakonian, deacon, minister) the brethren at Cor- 
inth. While he was at Corinth, and needed anything — which he says 
he did — he did not burden (Gr. katenarkesa, the word from which we 
get the English word, narcotics, means "to be numbed or torpid, to 
grow stiff, to be idle, to be in a stupor") the Corinthians. Paul was no 
"dead-weight" or "dead-beat" at Corinth. He did not "flop" there. 

But for his independence and self-sustaining work, he was 
slandered as "undignified" and "humiliating." A "working-apostle" 
was humiliating to the church in the sophisticated metropolis of Cor- 



366 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

inth. Some congregations in the twentieth century are "humiliated" 
when they have "only" a self-supporting preacher. Would they be 
humiliated if the apostle Paul were their preacher? 

Paul promises that he will continue to refrain from burdening the 
brethren in Corinth in any way. He will not let his favorite method of 
ministry (preaching free of charge) be silenced (Gr. phragesetai, 
stopped, quieted) in the regions of Achaia (Corinth). His reward for 
preaching was to preach it without charging for it (I Cor. 9:18). Some- 
one at Corinth had insinuated that his refusal to take money from 
them for preaching indicated that he did not really care about them. 
He did take money from churches who offered it. He would not ask 
for it. He declared authoritatively the right of preachers to be sup- 
ported (I Cor. 9). But for some reason, known to him and God, he 
would not take money from Corinth. His love for them, however, was 
undeniable! 

There is a great deal to be said for the advantage in a self- 
sustaining ministry. Most importantly, the self-sustaining preacher is 
free from the temptation to "flatter" and preach what the "itching- 
ears" of those who support him want him to preach even if it disagrees 
with the Scriptures. Second, such a preacher is perhaps in better 
"touch" with the frustrations and expectations of the 
"working-man" segment of his congregation. His industriousness and 
fortitude would be a winsome example to all the unsaved community 
around him. But there is also a great deal to be said for the advantages 
of a congregationally-supported ministry. Obviously, a preacher who 
is paid by his congregation ("get their living by the gospel" I Cor. 
9: 14) will have more ' 'prime' ' time to give to the work of ministry (ser- 
mon preparation, "pastoral" counseling and visitation, evangelism, 
direction to corporate activities, etc.). Second, the fact of his physical 
dependence on the congregation gives the eldership and membership 
some spiritual control in his ministry should he go astray from sound 
doctrine. Third, it affords the membership of the congregation a 
keener awareness of individual participation in the work of the 
ministry. Individuals whose vocations and family responsibilities pro- 
hibit them from devoting as much time to gospel work as they would 
like may vicariously enter into this work by financial support of the 
"paid" minister. There are other advantages in both situations. Both 
methods ("paid" and "free") are scripturally sanctioned. It is for 



367 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

preachers and congregations to decide for themselves. One thing is 
certain in the present financial status of American christians — they 
could support hundreds (even thousands) more preachers and mis- 
sionaries than they are! 

11:12-15 Unaffecting: The trouble-makers in Corinth were demand- 
ing financial support, bragging about their stature in the brotherhood, 
preaching "another" Jesus, "putting on airs" with grand affectation. 
Paul was humble, self-effacing, always talking of his weaknesses, 
uneloquent, unpretentious, working for a living, proclaiming a 
crucified, risen Christ who saves by grace, so his enemies called him a 
"fool." They convinced some of the christians at Corinth that Paul 
could not be an apostle because he was not like they were. 

Paul replies, "I will continue to be what I am and do what I do in 
order to undermine (Gr. ekkopso "cut off") the claim of those. . . ." 
Paul intends to expose and stop the "pseudo-apostles." The only way 
to deal with deliberately disguised falsehood is exposure (see Eph. 
5:6-13) and excision! Ray Stedman writes: 

This tactic of plain-spoken exposure is missing in the churches today; 
many are destroyed because no one will stand up and confront false 
teachers. We are caught up with the world's philosophy and anything 
goes. We must be nice to everyone, always. But the apostles never did 
that, nor did Jesus. Look at the sharp language he employed on occa- 
sion with the Pharisees. Right to their faces he called them, "snakes and 
vipers," and "dead men's tombs, full of rotting bones." filled with an 
awful stench. That is not the way to win friends and influence people! 
Jesus set that aside and told the truth. 

There would be no affectation from Paul. He would not disguise reali- 
ty. Those slandering him were in reality "deacons of the devil." 

These Judaizers boasted they were "superior" to Paul. They 
"disguised" themselves so they might appear that way and not be 
found out to be what they really were — false. Paul intended to show 
that they were not superior but that they "work on the same terms as 
we do." Certainly, Paul was not saying here that his opponents were 
on the same level as he was in Christ. In fact, he says they are servants 
of Satan! He evidently means to insist that the Corinthians are to 
judge his opponents on the same terms he is willing to have himself 
judged — to measure them all, not by one another, but by Christ and 
his word. 



368 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

The Judaizers were "false apostles" (Gr . pseudoapostoloi, "fake- 
apostles"). They were "deceitful workmen" (Gr. ergatai dolioi, 
"alluring, ensnaring, baiting, workmen"). The Greek word dolioi is 
also used in II Corinthians 4:2 of those who ensnare people by distor- 
ting ("huckstering") the truth — mingling the truths of God's word 
with false doctrines. This is precisely what the Judaizers did. This was 
their "disguise." Paul uses the Greek word metaschematizomenoi to 
expose them as "disguising ones." We get our English words scheme, 
and schematic from this Greek word. They were scheming (conspiring 
and deceiving) against Paul and against the Church at Corinth. 

But Paul said he was not astonished ("no wonder") at this schem- 
ing of the Judaizers because even Satan disguises himself (puts on a 
facade) as an "angel" (Gr. angelon, messenger) of light. Paul uses the 
same Greek word (metaschematizetai) to describe Satan's scheming 
deceit. The KJV translation into the English word "transform" is not 
exact. Satan is not able to transform himself into an "angel of light." 
He disguises himself. The only thing Satan can do is pretend or 
deceive. He is only apseudo messenger of truth. There is no truth in 
him at all (John 8:44). He has no power to really rule, really create, or 
really perform miracles. He can seduce, beguile and disguise himself, 
but has no power whatsoever to "transform" his nature. Plummer 
says, "Transform implies a greater change than is meant here, and 
'transfigure' should be kept for metamorphoomai . . . sunschema- 
tizomai (Rom. 12:2; I Pet. 1:14) means 'acquire an outward form in 
accordance with.' " 

God said of the "serpent" in Genesis 3:1 that he was "more sub- 
tle" than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. The 
Hebrew word translated "subtle" is 'aroom and means "crafty, cun- 
ning" — it is translated into the Greek word phronimotatos (mental 
alacrity) in the Septuagint. Satan does not confront people openly and 
honestly. He will not represent himself as he really is — a liar, a cheat, 
a deceiver, and a destroyer. He confronts people disguised as one who 
wants to help, please, give, reward and make life exciting. He is 
named in the book of Revelation as ' 'the great dragon . . . that an- 
cient serpent ... the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole 
world" (Rev. 12:9). Revelation also informs us that he has transferred 
his deceitful powers to the "beast" (world rulers) who, in turn, 
transfers deceitful powers to the "false prophet" (religious false 



369 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

teachers) and to the "harlot" (materialistic, hedonistic, carnal society) 
(Rev. 13:1-18:24). The devil does not come to us in red leotards with 
horns, a tail, and a pitchfork. He comes disguised as invincible 
political power, as a religious "lamb" (which speaks like a dragon), 
and as an alluring, seductive, desirable companion ("harlot") whose 
pleasures we may purchase and enjoy with no untoward consequences 
at the end of the relationship. 

Paul actually calls those slandering him and teaching "another" 
Jesus and a "different" gospel, servants (Gr. diakonoi, "deacons, 
ministers") of Satan. They had disguised themselves as "ministers of 
righteousness." But their's was a "righteousness according to" 
Judaism — according to the law of Moses. They were ministering the 
"dispensation of death"! There is no righteousness for man in law- 
keeping (Gal. 2:16). Man's only righteousness is in the grace of God 
through Christ, appropriated by faith. It is inevitable for the servants 
of Satan that their end will correspond to their works — that is, they 
will fall victim to their own lies. They will lose their ability to tell truth 
from falsehood and they will victimize themselves! They will deceive 
themselves! 

The devil and his servants are very subtle. They are cunning and 
crafty. They disguise themselves as messengers of light. But the chris- 
tian has at his disposal mighty weapons through God. He has the 
weaponry to overthrow all obstacles to the knowledge of God — even 
the deceit and disguises of Satan! The christian's primary weapon is 
the Word of God (the "sword of the Spirit"). The veneer of disguised 
religiosity is stripped from false teachers by the simplicity of God's 
word. Their real character and methods are exposed in such passages 
as I Pet. 2:1-22; I John 4:1-6; Matt. 7:15-23; 23:1-36; I Cor. 15:1-58; I 
Tim. 4:1-5; II Tim. 3:1-9; Titus 1:10-16; Jude 3-23. There is hardly 
any excuse for a christian being led astray by messengers of Satan. The 
christian need only "prove" a teacher's manner of life and his doc- 
trine by the Bible and he will be able to see through any disguise of 
Satan or his ministers! It should not be "strange" (Gr. ou mega, "no 
great thing") to the christian that the devil has "servants" who 
"disguise" themselves. The christian should not be surprised or over- 
whelmed by their machinations. God has supplied weapons by which 
the christian may not only penetrate the disguises of evil, he has made 
it possible for christians using these weapons to conquer and capture 



370 



ft 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

evil thoughts and bring them and the person who thinks them under 
obedience to Christ. But that means a christian must know the word 
of God, "think on these things" (Phil. 4:8-9), believe them and prac- 
tice them. If he does not he is ignorant and vulnerable to the 
"designs" (II Cor. 2:11) and the "disguises" of Satan and his ser- 
vants. David, the Psalmist, said it succinctly a number of times: 
"... the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" 
(Psa. 19:8); ". . . I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not 
sin against thee . . ." (Psa. 11:8-11). And even the Lord Jesus 
himself, the perfect man, God-Incarnate, depended upon the Scrip- 
tures to defend himself against the deceit and disguises of the in- 
veterate Slanderer (see Matt. 4:1-11). The Scriptures expose the 
schemes of the devil and his servants. Depend on them! 



SECTION 3 



Unaccredited, 11:16-33 

16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish; but even if you do, 
accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. "(What I am 
saying I say not with the Lord's authority but as a fool, in this 
boastful confidence; 18 since many boast of worldly things, I too 
will boast.) I9 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise 
yourselves! 20 For you bear it if a man makes slaves of you, or 
preys upon you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or 
strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too 
weak for that! But whatever any one dares to boast of — I am 
speaking as a fool — I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they 
Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they 
descendants of Abraham? So am I. "Are they servants of 
Christ? I am a better one — I am talking like a mandmap — with 
far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless 
beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I have received at the 
hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I have 
been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have 
been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; 



371 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from rob- 
bers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger 
in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from 
false brethren; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless 
night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and ex- 
posure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily 
pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is 
weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not in- 
dignant? 

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my 
weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is 
blessed for ever, knows that I do not lie. 32 At Damascus, the 
governor under king Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in 
order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a win- 
dow in the wall, and escaped his hands. 

ll:16-21a Unauthoritative: The slander-problem Paul faced was 
fundamentally a challenge to his authority. His enemies charged that, 
according to their criteria, he had shown no evidence of religious 
authority. According to his antagonists, he was weak in his message 
and his methods. Their concept of an authority-figure was one who 
would move into a congregation and "take over." Such an "authori- 
ty" would suppress individual freedoms (enslave), exploit (prey 
upon), take advantage of, be high and mighty with (put on airs), and 
insult (slap in the face) people. An authority ought to be somewhat 
tyrannical and ruthless or he will lose his authority, they rationalized. 
A religious authority would brag and boast and exude self-confidence 
just like worldly "leaders" do, according to the Judaizers. 

So Paul begins his treatment of this slanderous insinuation. In 1 1 : 1 
he had satirically asked the Corinthians to "bear with" him in a "little 
foolishness." He meant, of course, that he was not really acting 
foolishly at all, but that his opponents were and if it took that kind of , 
foolish "boasting" to rescue them from the false teachers, he might 
condescend to a "little" of it. Now he says again, "let no one think 
me foolish." The Greek syntax here is strong: Palin lego me tis me 
doxe aphrona einai, "Again I say, not anyone me judge foolish to 
be!" But Paul was not sure they could see through the foolishness of 
the false teachers and perceive the wisdom of his behavior. So, again, 



372 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

he condescends to play the foolish game of boasting in "worldly" ac- 
complishments, just to draw the Corinthians away from the Judaizer's 
death through legalism, and back to his gospel of life through grace. If 
they must have a "boasting" fool as their leader, let them "accept" 
Paul as that "fool." 

The next statement (verses 17-18) is parenthetical. The Corinthians 
must be assured that he was not accrediting his authority, in the long 
list of boasting he was about to do, on some divine standard or com- 
mand of the Lord. Not that the Lord would disapprove of Paul's 
method, but there was no divine order from God that he do it this 
way. To boast of "worldly things" (Gr. kata ten sarka, according to 
the flesh) was not the standard that the Lord had set up for his 
apostles. But since Paul's motive was spiritual and only the cause of 
Christ was his aim, and since everything he would say would be true 
(as opposed to the falsehoods of his opponents), he could righteously 
engage in this "contest" of boasting about outward appearances — as 
repugnant as it was to his soul. 

Certainly, if the apostle Paul could, in good conscience (distasteful 
as it was to him personally), defend himself against slander by enter- 
ing a "contest" of "boasting" about his credentials and sacrificial 
ministry for the Lord, it is a precedent that modern ministers may 
follow — when needed! Paul's aim was to protect the reputation of 
the gospel and the church of Christ. When slanderous falsehoods are 
spread about preachers (or other leaders of the Lord's church) the real 
target is the name of Christ and the church. It is imperative, therefore, 
that preachers (and other spiritual leaders) be above reproach in their 
living (I Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6; Eph. 4:1-5:33; Phil. 1:27-30; I Pet. 
2:11-17, etc.). They must also be able, by knowledge of the scriptures, 
to "stop the mouths of the gainsayers" (Titus"!:?- 16; I Tim. 4:11-16; 
II Tim. 2:14-19; 2:23-26; 4:1-5). 

Notice again the sarcasm or satire used by the apostle. In verses 
19-20 he really bears down! LB. Phillips paraphrases, "From your 
heights of superior wisdom I am sure you can smile tolerantly on a 
fool. Oh, you're tolerant all right! You don't mind, do you, if a man 
takes away your liberty, spends your money, takes advantage of you, 
puts on airs or even smacks your face?" We wonder how this was 
received by all the members of the church at Corinth! In many modern 
congregations there would be some so "offended" by such sarcasm 



373 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

they would withdraw membership! Not only that, they would "bad- 
mouth" a preacher who spoke such satire. But lying slander is such a 
serious offense to God's spokesmen and has such far reaching evil 
consequences for the gospel and the church, drastic methods like 
"boasting" and "sarcasm" are necessary to defeat it. 

Paul uses "biting" words to describe the stupidity of the Corin- 
thians. They might as well bear with his "foolish" boasting about his 
work and his apostleship because they bear with the "fools" who are 
disguising themselves as apostles but are really Satan's servants. The 
Corinthians were "fools" themselves (Gr. aphrona, "out of their 
minds") for they were willing to bear with men who enslaved them, 
preyed upon them (Gr. katesthiei, "devour" "swallow up"), took ad- 
vantage of (Gr. lambanei, lit. "takes them"), put on airs (Gr. 
epairetai, "exalt themselves"), or struck them in the face (Gr. pro- 
sopon humas derei, "face of you, beats"). What "fool" but a 
religious fool would allow himself to be dominated, devoured, 
"taken," humiliated and psychologically slapped around? What 
"fool" but a religious fool would think that the true "spiritual 
leader" sent from God is supposed to tyrannize people, use people 
and abuse them? Perhaps this is why many people reject all forms of 
Christianity — they have grown up under a religious system ruled over 
by "disguised" "pseudo-apostles" who have dominated them, 
"taken" them, and "slapped them around." They realized they were 
made "fools" of and think all Christianity is represented by these 
"pseudo" messengers of light. Paul minced no words in denouncing 
the pseudo-messengers and pulled no punches in calling those "fools" 
who followed them. 

Sarcastically, Paul concludes, "To my shame, I must say, we were 
too weak for that!" or as J.B. Phillips translates, "I am almost 
ashamed to say that I never did brave strong things like that to you." 
That is sarcasm! Paul's record with the Corinthian church (even his 
epistles) stood in sharp contrast to that of the pseudo-apostles. He did 
everything he could to free them from sin and judgment; he never 
preyed upon them or "took" them; he was before them in all humili- 
ty; and even when he had to be "severe" with words, he did so to pro- 
tect them from those who would enslave them. 

ll:21b-30 Unqualified: The Judaizers boasted about their 
qualifications and at the same time disparaged Paul's. So Paul enters 



374 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

the "contest" of listing qualifications repeating his disgust ("I am 
speaking as a fool") that such methods have to be used. How could a 
man who taught so much about humility be so boastful about his be- 
ing a "better" servant than others? 

Paul was humble. He taught others that humility is what Christ ex- 
emplified and what God desires in all men. He wrote, "Do nothing 
from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than 
yourselves . . ." (Phil. 2:3ff). But here, Paul is counting himself "bet- 
ter" than the pseudo-apostles who were trying to seduce the Corin- 
thian church! He considered such "boasting" the last resort he had to 
rescue the Corinthians. For the sake of the gospel and the Corin- 
thians, not for his own sake, it has to be done. His credentials as the 
true apostle and authorized spokesman for God must be established. 
His true love for the church and the gospel must be vindicated. He 
spoke in plain, factual, historical terminology because he loved the 
Corinthians. He took no money from them and appeared to be un- 
sophisticated because he loved them. He is even doing what grinds 
against his spirit (boasting) because he loves them. There are occa- 
sions, hopefully few, when true, humble, serving, working preachers 
have to "show" they are as knowledgeable, as caring, as able, as com- 
mitted — and even more so-as the hundreds of pseudo-messengers of 
God. Too many people follow messengers rather than the message. 
Occasionally, the messenger with the true message has to "boast" of 
his messengership to turn the "fool" away from disguised, deceitful 
pseudo-messengers. 

Are they Hebrews, Israelites, descendants of Abraham? So is 
Paul. His lineage was unquestionable! (see Phi. 3:4-7; Acts 22:3; 26:5; 
Rom. 11:1). His attachment to his Jewish heritage was unassailable. 
His love for Jewish people was close to divine (Rom. 9:1-5)! How 
many of the Judaizers would be willing to go to hell for their Jewish 
brethren? 

Are they saying they are "servants" (Gr. diakonoi, ministers) of 
Messiah (Gr. Christou, "anointed one," Christ)? It is so repugnant to 
Paul to brag or compare himself with" others he thinks of himself as a 
"madman" (Gr. paraphronon, "mentally beside myself," or "out of 
my mind") for having to do so. But he will condescend to "madness" 
so Corinth may see who really is the "servant" of Christ and who are 
pretenders! Paul gives an incredible list of personal sacrifices he had 



375 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



made already for the gospel. This does not take into account what he 
will go through in the remaining years of his life, some of which is 
documented in Acts, chapters 19 through 28. All the following took 
place before he wrote II Corinthians in 57 A.D. 

1. "far greater labors" (Gr. kopois, toil, hard word). We know Paul 
"toiled" at tent-making (Acts 18:1-3) at Corinth and other places. Mak- 
ing tents from animal hair, wool, or skins would be arduous labor. 
What other labor Paul did we are not told. We do believe him when he 
says he "toiled" in far greater ways than his opponents. Paul appears to 
have been skilled in seamanship (Acts 27). Being a world-traveler he 
probably worked with his hands at many different tasks. 

2. "far more imprisonments" (Gr. phulakais, caged, lpcked-up). We 
know Paul was imprisoned at Philippi, at Jerusalem, at Rome (twice). 
How many other times he was made a prisoner we are not told. It ap- 
pears he "fought with beasts at Ephesus" — perhaps he was imprisoned 
there and made to fight in a Roman arena. 

3. "countless beatings" (Gr. plegais, wound, blow — English 
"plague"). Paul had so many beatings he was "plagued" with them. He 
used the Greek word huperballontos ("countless") which literally 
means, "thrown upon," or "piled high." This would include the Jewish 
"forty, less one" and the Roman "rods," plus "countless" 
others ... so many beatings he had stopped counting. 

4. "often near death" (Gr. en thanatois, lit. "in death"). Often in his 
ministry (at the writing of II Corinthians, approximately 15 years) Paul 
had been so near death he felt he was "in" it. It began at Damascus 
(Acts 9), continued at Iconium (Acts 14:5), Lystra (Acts 14:19), Phillipi 
(Acts 16:22), in Ephesus (Acts 19:30-31), at Jerusalem (Acts 21:31; 
23:14), many times at sea (Acts 27; II Cor. 11:25-26), in times of hunger 
(II Cor. 11:27), in Asia Minor (II Cor. 1:8-9), in Roman arenas (I Cor. 
15:32), during travel (II Cor. 1 1 :26-27). He "bore in his body, the marks 
of the Lord Jesus" (Gal. 6:17); he "shared in the sufferings of Christ" 
(Phil 3:10); in his flesh he completed what was lacking in Christ's afflic- 
tions . . ." (Col. 1:24). He was so often near death in the Lord's work 
he considered himself (and other apostles) as "men sentenced to death" 
(see I Cor. 4:8-13). 

5. "five times . . . forty lashes less one" (Gr. tesserakonta para mian, 
the phrase is simply, "forty less one" which was commonly understood 
to be the "39 stripes" of Mishnaic punishment. The law of Moses laid 
down this punishment (Deut. 25:1-3) and decreed a maxim of forty 



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THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 



stripes. There was dire warning against exceeding the maxim. It, 
therefore, became a practice to stop at 39 stripes. The Mishnah says: 
"They bind his two hands to a pillar on either side, and the minister of 
the synagogue lays hold on his garments ... so that he bares his chest. 
A stone is set behind him on which the minister of the synagogue stands 
with a strap of calf -hide in his hand, doubled and re-doubled, and two 
other straps that rise and fall thereto. The handpiece of the strap is one 
handbreadth long and one handbreath wide, and its end must reach to 
his navel (when the victim is struck on the shoulder the end of the strap 
must reach the navel). He gives him one third of the stripes on front and 
two thirds behind, and he may not strike him when he is standing or 
when he is sitting but only when he is bending down . . . and he that 
smites smites with one hand and with all his might. If he dies under his 
hand, the scourger is not culpable. But if he gives him one stripe too 
many, and he dies, he must escape into exile because of him." Five 
times Paul suffered punishment at the hands of his Jewish countrymen 
which could easily have killed him. 

6. "three times beaten with rods" (Gr. tris errabdisthen, beatings with 
the lictors or "serjeants" [rhabdouchoi, lit., "rod bearers"]) — rods of 
Roman soldiers. These were rods of birch wood. There was no limita- 
tion on the number of blows that might be administered. Victims often 
died. Some were beaten until internal organs were visible through the 
torn flesh. The Romans often used this as a "trial by the rod" to deter- 
mine innocence or guilt before further sentencing to death by crucifix- 
ion. Three times Paul was forced to submit to this torture. Had any of 
the pseudo-apostles experienced this in the name of Jesus? 

7. "once I was stoned" (Gr. elithasthen, large rocks, not pebbles — 
English prefix "lith" [stone] comes from this Greek word). Paul was 
struck with stones by his persecutors so severely in Lystra, he was pro- 
nounced dead and dragged out of the city where his friends gathered 
around him and saw him rise up and go immediately about his work of 
evangelism (Acts 14:19ff). 

8. "three times . . . shipwrecked" (Gr. enauagesa, from naus "a ship" 
and agnumi "to break"). Three times Paul went through the terrifying 
experience of a ship breaking up beneath his feet on the high seas. It 
would be three of those "countless" times he had been "in death." Be- 
ing shipwrecked is being as near death as you can be. There are manifold 
dangers in such an experience: drowning, predators in the seas, ex- 
posure to the elements, dying of hunger and thirst. 

9. "a night and a day . . . adrift at sea" (Gr. nuchthemeron en to 
butho, the phrase is concise, nuch "night," hemera "day" in the deep 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 



{butho from the Greek bathos). Paul's shipwreck experiences and 
twenty-four hours adrift at sea occurred before he wrote this letter and 
he was yet to experience the shipwreck recorded in Acts 27. 

10. "on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers" (Gr. kindunois 
potamon, lit. "in peril from rivers" — potamon signifies "fresh water 
or natural water" and is translated "flood" in Matt. 7:25, 27; Rev. 
12:15, 16). Rivers in Asia Minor and Greece were often in flood-stage 
and there were few bridges. Paul would have to cross these raging tor- 
rents at the peril of drowning or being swept downstream and dashed 
against rocks. 

11. "danger from robbers" (Gr. kindunois leston, the word leston is 
related to the word leia, "booty," and signifies those who plunder 
openly and violently in contrast to kleptes, a thief). When Paul traveled 
the countryside was open to highway robbers (the road to Jericho af- 
forded a place for men to rob a man violently and leave him to die, see 
Luke 10:29-37). While the empire of Rome had made significant im- 
provements toward safety for travelers, the army could not patrol all the 
thousands of miles of roadway or the uncharted foot-trails traveled by 
Paul. 

12. "danger from my own people" (Gr. kindunois ek genous, in peril 
from his own "kind" or "genre"). Jews were scattered over all the 
Roman empire, from Italy on the west to Persia on the East. They lived 
in their own little communities in every city and village. But Paul was 
not only unwelcome among the majority of his own race, he was "in 
peril' ' from them! It was not only a physical problem but undoubtedly a 
psychological problem for Paul as well. 

13. "danger from Gentiles" (Gr. kindunois ex ethnon, "in peril from 
ethnics or nations"). Anyone who was not a Jew was an "ethnic" or 
"Gentile." Jews considered all non-Jews to be aliens no matter where 
the Jew lived. The Jews kept the Gentiles stirred up against Paul and his 
Christianity, claiming it was anti- Jewish and anti-Roman (see Acts 
14:19; 16:19ff; 17:13; 18:12; Acts 24: Iff; 25:7; I Thess. 2:14-16, etc.). 
And, of course, there was a long standing attitude of contempt and 
malice from the Gentiles toward the Jews (and Paul was a Jew). 

14. "danger in the city" (Gr. kindunois en polei, "peril in a city"). 
Huge metropolises like Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, Damascus, Jerusalem 
were over populated, festered with slums, disease, crime, prostitution, 
political corruption, conflagrations, and the ever present gladiatorial 
games which consumed thousands and thousands of slaves, christians 
and others in their deadly struggles. 



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THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 



15. "danger in the wilderness" (Gr. kindunois en eremia, "peril in the 
deserted places"). Areas between the cities and villages were called 
"deserts" because they were deserted — uninhabited. These "deserts" 
were often expansive and required many nights "camping out" in them 
where there was no civilization. They were populated by wild beasts and 
robbers. There were no shelters, no stores, no human help available. 
Paul was often in peril traveling through such wilderness. Modern mis- 
sionaries find such situations even today in many "backward" coun- 
tries. 

16. "danger at sea" (Gr. kindunois en thalasse). This was discussed in 
the statements on "shipwreck" No. 8 and "night-day adrift" No. 9. 

17. "danger from false brethren" (Gr. kindunois en pseudadelphois, 
"peril in pseudo-brethren"). Paul specifically mentions "false 
brethren" in his epistle to the Galatians (Gal. 2:4) who 
"secretly . . . slip in to spy out our freedom . . . that they might bring 
us into bondage. . . ." He warned the elders from Ephesus that there 
would be men "from among your ownselves . . . arise . . . speaking 
perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them ..." (Acts 
20:29-30). A true brother would not imperil — only a false brother 
would pose danger to a christian minister. Evidently there would be 
"false brethren" in many places to make Paul list them as perils. Jesus 
warned his apostles "brother would deliver up brother" among them 
(Matt. 10:16-25). People posing as followers of Christ were slipping into 
the congregations in order to bring them under Judaism, perhaps to 
betray them to civil authorities after Christianity began to be persecuted 
by the Romans. 

18. "in toil and hardship through many a sleepless night" (Gr. 
kopo . . . mochtho . . . agrupniais pollakis, "in tiredness and pain- 
fulness and sleeplessness many times"). The Greek word agrupniais is 
from agreuo, "to chase," and hupnos, "sleep." Paul lost many nights 
of sleep due to being so tired and pain-wracked in body he could not 
sleep. He was often what we call "bone-weary." When one considers all 
he has said to this point, one wonders how he could possibly get his 
body to go on taking the punishment it did after he wrote this letter. 
There must have been many days when he wondered if he could 
physically continue to climb mountains, ford flooded rivers, sleep out in 
the cold nights, go without food, take beatings, shipwrecks, im- 
prisonments, and stay alive! AND WITH ALL THIS HE WAS 
"WELL PLEASED" (see comments on 12:10). 

19. "in hunger and thirst, often without food" (Gr. en limo kai dipsei 
en nesteiais pollakis, the Greek word limo means "famine" or 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

"hunger" not self-imposed; nesteiais is translated "fastings" and could 
mean self-imposed abstinence from food for some spiritual reason. Paul 
did fast (Acts 9:9; probably in Acts 21:26; probably in Gal. 1:17). The 
word nesteiais could also mean "hunger" from famine or lack of food 
available. The word dipsei (see the English word dipsomania) always 
means thirst. And Paul says he was "often" in such straits. 

20. "in cold and exposure" (Gr. en psuchei kai gumnoteti, "cold and 
naked"). The word gumnoteti is stronger than the English word "ex- 
posure." While Paul was undoubtedly often exposed to the elements of 
nature out in the wilderness areas, this word indicates he may have often 
been "stripped of all clothing" in certain circumstances. Shipwrecked, 
he might lose his clothing, imprisoned it might have been taken away 
from him, when he was being beaten he would be stripped. And taken in 
conjunction with the word psuchei, "cold," it probably means there 
were many times when his clothing was not sufficient to keep him from 
being very cold. 

21. ". . . daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the 
churches . . ." (Gr. he epistasis moi he kath hemeran he merimna pason 
ton ekklesiori) Epistasis literally means, "standing upon, or burdened 
upon" me. Merimna means "divided mind" or "anxiousness" — it is 
the same word Jesus warned against in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 
6:22-34). Jesus told us we should not be "anxious" — but about what? 
He meant not to be anxious about matters of the flesh! Paul had 
"learned" to be content in whatever state of the flesh he found himself 
(Phil. 1:20-23; Acts 25:11; II Tim. 4:6-8). But he was pressured or 
"burdened" and "mentally distracted" about the churches! Paul's 
"care" for the churches was a daily affair {hemeran), not monthly or 
annually. It was a burden he carried each day (and sleepless night). It 
kept his mind occupied. His thoughts were constantly distracted to the 
trouble of the churches. He cared about their persecutions. He cared 
about their divisiveness. He cared about the false teachers seducing 
them. He cared about their need for spiritual growth. He cared about 
their need to give. It is not wrong to occupy our minds with cares and 
pressures of the church and spiritual things. Jesus wants us to be 
"distracted" /row the things of the world and "attracted" to the things 
of the Spirit! If we worried and fretted and cared half as much about 
spiritual things as we do about physical things, thousands more people 
would hear the gospel and thousands more parents would direct their 
children to be preachers and missionaries. Concern for the church is not 
a lack of faith! 

Concluding this long list of weaknesses and perils, Paul declares 
his credentials as a true apostle are found in his "scars." He asks the 



380 



THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

rhetorical question, "Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made 
to fall, and I am not indignant?" In other words, he would have the 
Corinthians (and his opponents there) understand that the sign of true 
allegiance to Christ inevitably produces "weaknesses and perils." He 
is a full participant in these marks of the true servant of Christ. Paul 
always taught that "weakness" (as the world thinks of weakness) is 
the way of the christian (see I Cor. 8:11-12; 9:22; Rom. 14:1-2). His 
second question has two interesting Greek words — skandalizetai 
("fall" or "stumble") and pyroumai ("indignant" or "burn"). He is 
thinking of the Judaizing slanderers who have been trying to seduce 
the Corinthians by their false teaching. They would be causing the 
Corinthians to "fall" from grace by going back to the law of Moses 
and they would be "boasting" in the strength of fleshly self- 
righteousness. This would make Paul, whose gospel was that of the 
weakness of the flesh and the power of grace, "burn" with indigna- 
tion. 

11:30-33 Unassuming: Paul's approach to the ministry, especially 
the apostolic ministry, is incredible in the light of the world's view of 
religion. He summarizes in these verses his whole philosophy of 
evaluating a person's service to the Lord! And he says, "If I must 
boast (compare my ministry to others) I will boast of things that show- 
ed my weaknesses." 

The Lord gave a signal about "weakness" in ministry at the very 
beginning of Paul's service. Paul refers to the time he was let down 
over the wall in a basket. After his conversion he was obsessed with 
showing the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old 
Testament and of converting the Jewish nation! He was eminently 
qualified for this ministry to the Jews. That was his burning desire 
(Rom. 9:2-3). So he started out to do it (Acts 9:1-31) but things kept 
falling apart until they reached such a terrible state that his friends, 
fearing for his life, took him out to the Damascus wall and let him 
down from the city in a basket. "The night I had to sneak out of 
Damascus . . . that is the event I boast about," he says. 

Isn't that interesting? Looking back, with all his own plans and 
dreams of conquest and glory for Christ collapsed around his feet, 
that was the night he began to learn a great truth: self-made men and 
self-made plans are not what qualify a person as a servant of Christ. 

Today's world is being swamped with the philosophy that such 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

things are what make us usable as christians (a strong personality, an 
outgoing, optimistic outlook, gifts of leadership, handsome frame 
and body, musical ability, speaking ability). All these are the things 
that some people believe are prime prerequisites for ministry. But Paul 
says that is a mistake. God uses weakness* All the physical, outward 
attributes Paul once counted gain he decided were nothing but a pile 
of manure in contrast to what he learned in weaknesses. 

There is no truth the Lord wants us to learn which is greater than 
this! The opponent of Paul at Corinth slandered him as "weak." Paul 
replies, "I gladly boast of my weaknesses . . . I am content with them 
(ch. 12). Strengths without Christ's sovereignty over us are garbage — 
weaknesses with Christ are priceless jewels! 

Slander. Untrue aspersions. Censorius criticisms about lack of 
ego, personality-power, and sophistication. How should a preacher 
deal with it? By accepting in faith that the Lord will one day vindicate 
his faithfulness. And, when necessary for the preservation of Christ's 
honor and the church's stability, by "boasting" of his weaknesses as 
they have been of service to the Lord in toil, peril, and hardship. 



APPREHENSION: 

1. Did Paul really intend to act like a "fool"? How is he using the 
word "foolishness"? 

2. What does the word "betrothed" mean as Paul used it about his 
relationship to the Corinthian church? 

3 . Where did the devil (serpent) direct his attack upon Eve? 

4. How could someone preach "another" Jesus? 

5. What was the "different" spirit some were receiving? 

6. Was Paul "unskilled" in speaking? What did he say about that in 
I Corinthians? 

7. Why did Paul preach the gospel to the Corinthians without 
"cost"? 

8. How did Paul support himself while he preached at Corinth? 

9. How did his preaching free of charge "undermine" the false 
teachers in Corinth? 

10. Where does the word "disguise" come from in this text? 

11. How does a "servant of Satan" disguise himself? 



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THE PROBLEM OF SLANDER 

12. Why did the Corinthians "bear with" those who enslaved them? 

13. What do you know about Paul's Jewish lineage? Why did he 
recite it here? 

14. How many times did Paul suffer "beatings"? What kind of 
beatings were they? 

15. How many times did he experience being shipwrecked? 

16. Name 7 "perils' Paul faced. 

17. In addition to all these, what psychological burdens did he bear? 
How often? 

18. Why does he relate the story about his sneaking out of Damascus 
in a basket? 



APPLICATION: 

1. Why is it "foolishness" to compare one's "accomplishments" in 
the ministry? Is it ever not "foolish"? How can you be sure about 
practicing it? 

2. When you win someone to Christ do you feel like you have played 
the part of the Bridegroom's friend in "betrothing" them to 
Christ? Have you ever been instrumental in "betrothing" anyone 
to Christ? 

3. What is significant about Paul's information that the devil (ser- 
pent) attacked Eve's thoughts'! Do you now see how important it 
is to "bring every thought captive to obedience to Christ"? (II 
Cor. 10:3-5). What is your congregation doing to bring people's 
"thoughts" captive to Christ? 

4. If people (like the Corinthians) receive the "spirit" of false 
teachers, whose "spirit" are they receiving? Can the evil spirit of 
Satan inhabit people without the phenomenon of demon posses- 
sion? Isn't that Satan's most important method? Why? Do you 
know any "Satan-spirited possessed" people now? 

5. Are you "unskilled in speaking"? Should that hinder you from 
speaking the gospel to others? What do you need to say to speak 
the gospel? How do you need to say it? Why can't you? 

6. What are the advantages of self-supporting preachers? Disadvan- 
tages? Which do you think would make the kingdom of Christ 
grow most? Why? 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

7. Are there religious leaders in the world today claiming to be 
"apostles" of Christ? Who? Are they? Why? What should be 
done about their claims? 

8. Have you discovered any messengers of Satan in disguise recent- 
ly? Who? What did you do about it? Are you obligated to warn 
others about it? 

9. Is it alright to use sarcasm? When? 

10. What do you think of all the perils and difficulties Paul went 
through to preach the gospel? What do you think of Paul? 

1 1 . How would you compare in self-sacrifice with Paul? Does his ex- 
ample make you want to do more for Jesus? Will you? 

12. Is it alright to be "pressured" and "anxious" about the church? 
Are you? 

13. Why has Paul made such a point to list all his "weaknesses" and 
"troubles"? 

14. Do you really believe the man of God's credentials are his 
"weaknesses"? 

15. What would you do if a man like the apostle Paul became the 
preacher at your church? Would you run him down, slander his 
credentials and methods? Would you admire him and work with 
him? 



384 



Special Study 
A Watchman For God 

"And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 'Son 
of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; 
whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warn- 
ing from me.' " Ezek. 3:16-17 

Introduction 

Some two thousand, five hundred years ago, a young Hebrew 
priest was taken as a Prisoner of War (POW) to a city and land far 
away from his homeland. Thousands of his countrymen were taken 
there with him. Some had already preceded them there. They were not 
tortured or starved to death by their conquerors. Some of them had 
risen to places of great prominence in the government of their con- 
querors. 

But they were thrust into a culture and circumstances that reeked 
of idolatry and lasciviousness. The Hebrew people had been enamored 
of idolatry and wickedness and playing with it for 400 years, ever since 
the divided kingdom. Now God has shaken them among the nations 
(Goyim) like one shakes a sieve. If they think idolatry and worldliness 
is the reason for man's existence, God will give them a full blast of it. 
He will let them see it "up close and personal"! God is risking his 
reputation on this experiment. Many, in fact all, will have the choice 
of either embracing the idolatry which surrounds them and beckons so 
alluringly, or they may reject it. But what is the other choice? That is 
what the watchman was called to do — proclaim the other choice. The 
other choice is redemption thru faith and obedience to God. 

You see, God, ever since the tragedy of Eden, had been promising 
to redeem man from his self-made destruction — and God had prom- 
ised to do it by A Man! First, he started the human race over through 
one man and his family; out of that man's seed, and through that na- 
tion, God intended to produce the perfect man. He would redeem the 
world. 

And for the moment, some 2500 years ago, the whole redemptive 
process falls upon the shoulders of a few, faithful, courageous watch- 
men like this priest-prophet. If a remnant of faithful people are to be 
saved from this wicked, blasphemous world, it will be through these 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

few watchmen. Their's is an almost overwhelming responsibility. It 
will take total trust in the word of God and total commitment to the 
call of God. Whom shall God send, who will go for him, and be a wat- 
chman! BY NOW YOU KNOW I'M TALKING ABOUT EZEKIEL, 
THE PRIEST, THE PROPHET, THE WATCHMAN 

I. SEE THE GLORY OF GOD, Ezek. ch. 1 (also 3:22-23, and 
10:1-22) 
A. See God's Control 

1. Ezekiel was given a great mental vision of the Almighty 
God enthroned above all his creation. It showed God in 
control of all animate and inanimate creation (the 
creatures and the wheels). 

2. At great crises in the history of redemption, God called 
certain men aside and gave them such visions of his ma- 
jestic glory (Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, John the apostle in 
the Revelation, Zechariah) 

3. At a critical point in the calling of the apostles the Lord 
Jesus took three of them aside, up to the mountain top, 
and there he let them see himself transfigured in all his 
divine glory. 

IF EVER GOD SHALL HAVE A MAN TO BE A WATCHMAN, 
HE MUST BE A MAN WHO HAS SEEN THE MAJESTIC GLORY 
OF GOD IN CONTROL OF ALL CREATION, IN CONTROL OF 
ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND ALL OF IT WORKING TO GOD'S 
GLORY! THAT IS WHAT EZEKIEL SAW OF HIS PEOPLE'S 
CIRCUMSTANCES . . . GOD IN CONTROL . . . GOD WORK- 
ING THEM TO SERVE HIS PURPOSES! THEN HE WAS SENT 
TO TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT HE HAD SEEN OF THE GLORY 
OF GOD! 

One of the reasons there aren't more watchmen for God today is 
God's people have not seen the glory of God! 

J.B. Phillips says in his little book, Your God Is Too Small: "The 
trouble with many people today is that they have not found a God big 
enough for modern needs. While their experience of life has grown in 



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A WATCHMAN FOR GOD 

a score of directions, and their mental horizons have been expanded to 
the point of bewilderment by world events and by scientific 
discoveries, their idea of God have remained largely static. It is ob- 
viously impossible for an adult to worship the conception of God that 
exists in the mind of a child of Sunday-school age, unless he is 
prepared to deny his own experience of life ... he worships or serves 
a God who is really too small to command his adult loyalty and 
cooperation." 

"If it is true that there is Someone in charge of the whole mystery of 
life and death, we can hardly expect to escape a sense of futility and 
frustration until we begin to see what He is like and what His purposes 
are." 

B. See God's Character 

1 . One of the things Ezekiel saw in this great vision was the 
rainbow surrounding the throne of the Almighty God. 
John the Apostle saw the same rainbow (Rev. 4:3). 
THE RAINBOW IS, OF COURSE, SYMBOLIC OF 
GOD'S GREATEST CHARACTERISTIC . . . HIS 
FAITHFULNESS! 

2. Ezekiel saw that God was being faithful to his promises 
even in the circumstances surrounding him. Faithfulness 
is the foundation of all goodness. Without faithfulness, 
words are false and not to be trusted — deeds are ex- 
ploitative and unloving. Faithfulness is love in action. 

3. This is what God kept telling his people century after cen- 
tury through the patriarchs and the prophets ... I WILL 
KEEP MY WORD ... I AM FAITHFUL ... I DO 
LOVE YOU ... I AM REDEEMING YOU. 

C. See God's Son 

1. People today clamor for what they think would turn 
them to God ... a vision of God's glory like Ezekiel, or 
Isaiah, or Zechariah or John the apostle. THEY WANT 
A MIRACLE TO HAPPEN OR THEY DO NOT 
THINK THEY CAN SEE THE GLORY OF GOD. 

2. Yet the N.T. tells us clearly that we may see the glory of 
God in Jesus, through the word of the apostles. 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Peter: "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths 
when we made known to you the power and coming of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his 
majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God 
the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic 
Glory, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well 
pleased,' we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we 
were with him on the holy mountain. 
AND PETER CONTINUES TO INSIST IN THE 
WORDS FOLLOWING THESE THAT CHRISTIANS 
ARE TO SEE THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE IN- 
SPIRED WORDS OF THE SCRIPTURES (II Pet. 
1:16-21). 

John: "That which was from the beginning, which we 
have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we 
have looked upon and touched with our hands, concern- 
ing the word of life — the life was made manifest, and we 
saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal 
life which was with the Father and was made manifest to 
us — that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also 
to you,so that you may have fellowship with us; and our 
fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus 
Christ ..." I John 1:1-4. 

Paul: Talking about the New Covenant Word which he 
had planted in the hearts of the Corinthians said: And we 
all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, 
are being changed into his likeness from one degree of 
glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the 
Spirit" II Cor. 3:17-18. 



SEEING THE GLORY OF GOD IN HIS SON, THROUGH THE 
WORD OF THE APOSTLES IS BETTER THAN SEEING IT IN A 
VISION. JESUS SAID TO THOMAS, "HAVE YOU BELIEVED 
BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEN ME . . . BLESSED ARE THOSE 
WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVE." 



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A WATCHMAN FOR GOD 

THAT IS WHAT OZARK CHRISTIAN COLLEGE EXISTS FOR . . . 
TO MAKE WATCHMEN ... TO COMMUNICATE FROM THE 
WORD, THE GLORY OF GOD. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE 
HERE FOR ... TO SEE THAT GLORY! REMEMBER WHAT 
REUBEL SHELLY SAID NOT TOO LONG AGO IN THIS VERY 
CHAPEL ABOUT MORE STUDY OF THE GOSPELS . . . MORE 
PREACHING FROM THE GOSPELS! 

The man who fanned into flame the great revival of the 18th century 
in America . . . called the Great Awakening ... a contemporary of 
the American Revolution . . . Jonathan Edwards was suddenly con- 
verted, in the moment of reading a single verse of the N.T. He was at 
home in his father's house; some hindrances kept him from going to 
church one Sunday with the family. A couple of hours with nothing to 
do sent him listlessly into the library; the sight of a dull volume with 
no title on the leather back of it evoked curiosity as to what it could 
be; he opened it at random and found it to be a Bible; and then his eye 
caught this verse: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen!" 

He tells us in his journal that the immediate effect of it was awakening 
and alarming to his soul: for it brought him a most novel and most ex- 
tensive thought of the vastness and majesty of the true Sovereign of 
the universe. Out of this grew the pain of guilt for having resisted such 
a Monarch so long, and for having served Him so poorly. 

GOD MUST HAVE WATCHMEN. BUT FIRST THEY MUST SEE 
HIS GLORY. HIS GLORY IS ALL AROUND MANKIND ... IT 
IS IN THE STARS, IN THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN 
MADE . . . BUT THE GLORY THAT MAKES MEN INTO 
WATCHMEN IS SEEN IN HIS SON, THROUGH THE WORD 
WHERE HE IS BEHELD WITH THE EYE OF FAITH, NOT OF 
FLESH! 

II. SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD, Ezek. ch. 2 & 3 
A. No Matter What It Says 

1 . Ezekiel was given a scroll to eat and told to eat what was 
offered AND THEN TO GO SPEAK TO THE HOUSE 



389 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

OF ISRAEL! SPEAK GOD'S WORDS! The scroll 
represents all God has to say to his people. It is a symbol 
used often in the scriptures. John the apostle saw a scroll 
in the right hand of him who sat upon the throne of 
heaven, sealed with seven seals, and when each seal was 
opened, some frightful things issued forth from that 
scroll. Again, John is given a scroll to eat, in Revelation 
10, it contained things both bitter and sweet. BUT JOHN 
WAS TOLD HE MUST PREACH WHAT WAS ON 
THAT SCROLL. 

2. The watchman of God must tell the whole story. He can- 
not deal with the truth in an underhanded way ... as a 
peddler of God's word (a "huckster"). 

He must not practice cunning or tamper with God's word 
(II Cor. 2 and 4). He must not "market" God's people by 
being false with the word (II Pet. 2:3 where the word for 
emporium is translated "exploit") and the Gr. word 
translated "false" is plastois (Eng. plastic). 

3. Jeremiah nearly lost his life, a number of times, for tell- 
ing it like God said. So did Daniel, Shadrach, Meshech 
and Abed-nego. So did the Apostles. 

THEY DID LOSE THEIR REPUTATION WITH THE 
WORLD, THEY LOST THEIR WORLDLY FRIENDS, 
MOST OF THEIR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS. 
MANY CHRISTIANS HAD (Heb. 10:32-39) THEIR 
PROPERTY, JOYFULLY 

4. Paul, often, suffered the loneliness of being alienated 
even from his christian brethren (read I and II Corin- 
thians) because he dared declare the whole counsel of 
God, just as he did to those at Ephesus, house to house, 
with tears, night and day. 



IF YOU WILL BE A WATCHMAN OF GOD YOU MUST 
PREACH THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD. AND OF COURSE TO 
PREACH IT YOU MUST KNOW IT, HEREMENEUTICALLY, 
HISTORICALLY, GRAMATICALLY, AND SPIRITUAL- 
LY. . . WITH THE HEART! 



390 



A WATCHMAN FOR GOD 

B. No Matter Whether They Hear or Not! 

1. Ezekiel had quite a constituency to which to preach! 
Hard-headed, rebellious, stubborn, impudent, wicked, 
unlistening. A CONGREGATION OF TELEPHONE 
POLES WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ... AT 
LEAST THEY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN IMPU- 
DENT! 

You can read about the attitudes of Ezekiel's congrega- 
tion in Jeremiah's book, too! 

2. But Ezekiel preached the Word of God to them. 

He told them they were Ichabods . . . "The Glory has 
Departed." 

He told them they were whores unfaithful to God. 
He told them their false prophets were liars, soul-hunters. 
He told them they were a useless vine, only good for 
burning. 

He told them they were deceiving themselves with their 
false parable," The fathers have eaten sour grapes and 
the children's teeth are set on edge! " IRRESPONSIBLE, 
GUTLESS NATION BLAMING THEIR ANCESTORS 
FOR THEIR OWN SINS, 
of the nations "No hiding place there" he said. 
He preached the glorious, great, demonstrable, world- 
wide victory of God over the worst the world could do to 
stop his redemptive plan . . . Gog and Magog (which I 
believe is fulfilled in Christ and the Church, now, not the 
millennium). 

He preached the future glorious city, and 
sanctuary ... his great temple, which if literally built 
would have engulfed the whole city of Jerusalem of 
Hezekiah. (which is also the Church of the christian 
dispensation.) 

3 . BUT THEY DIDN'T LISTEN. FOR THE MOST PART 
ONLY A FEW BELIEVED HIM! 

God told Ezekiel his success was not to be measured in 
whether anyone listened or not . . . only in whether he 
spoke or not. 
As God's watchman, if he warned, if he spoke all the 



391 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

counsel of God, he would be free of the blood of all men. 
Jesus told his apostles they would be sent to sow where 
others would reap, and reap where others had sown. The 
important matter is in the speaking . . . not the response. 

WATCHMEN ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 
RESPONSE . . . ONLY FOR THE PROCLAMA- 
TION! 

Paul did not care what people thought of his eloquence or how they 
compared his message with that of the Greek philosophers ... he on- 
ly cared that they hear from him the word of God, clearly, correctly, 
and faithfully. 

Paul's instructions to his students and co-workers in the Lord, 
Timothy and Titus was, "Preach the word. . . ." 

Listen to these words from one of the greatest preachers of the Word 
this country has ever know: 

In his 71st year, reviewing some of the highlights of his long and active 
life in the ministry, R.A. Torrey said: "If I had my life to live all over 
again, I would spend less time in praying and more time feeding on the 
Word of God." This is the man who preached all over the world — 
had 70,000 responses to his preaching in Great Britian alone; was most 
responsible for Moody Bible Institute's greatness; began the Bible In- 
stitute of Los Angeles, BIOLA; wrote "The Fundamentals" and 
many works on Apologetics. 

Moody himself said: "In prayer we talk to God, and in the study of 
the Bible God talks to us — and you had better let God do most of the 
talking!" 

R.A. Torrey was famous for his sermons being logical, unemotional, 
to the point, hermeneutically correct, and full of Bible. For some of 
his campaigns he engaged as a songleader a man named Homer Ham- 
montree. Hammontree was struck by the manner of the evangelist's 
invitations. There was little emotion or entreaty — almost a "take it 
or leave it." In some of his first services with Torrey no one came for- 



392 



A WATCHMAN FOR GOD 

ward. After several such nights he asked him, "Dr. Torrey doesn't it 
bother you when they don't come?" 

"Bother me, Hammie? . . . Hammie, that's none of my business. It's 
my business to preach the Gospel . . . it's His business to bring 
results." In a later service "Hammie" saw over one hundred people 
stand up and come forward at the invitation. His favorite sermon was 
"10 Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God" PREACH 
THE WORD. THE WORD HAS AUTOMATIC LIFE IN ITSELF 
(Mark 4:28 . . . the Greek word there is actually, automate from 
which we get automatic). "Produces of itself" 

III. SERVE THE PEOPLE OF GOD, Ezekiel, ch. 2-12 

A. In the difficult places 

1. Ezekiel was not sent to a people who would be respon- 
sive. He was sent to his own people who had heard the 
message over and over and over and over. 

God told him he was not sending him to a "people of 
foreign speech and a hard language . . . who would sure- 
ly listen to him" . . . but he was sent to "the house of 
Israel who would not listen to him because they would 
not listen to God" 

2. Sometimes the foreign mission field is considered an easy 
place to serve. Many a missionary has returned to the 
good old USA and said "I'm glad I don't serve here!" 
Some of our own kids who went behind the Iron Curtain 
a few years ago with TCM heard communist-controlled 
people say, "I'm glad I don't have to live in the US and 
try to be a Christian." 

3. Actually, there aren't any easy places to serve. Service 
takes humility and work, wherever you are, and none of 
that is easy! Read II Corinthians some time when you get 
discouraged with your lot! Read Jeremiah, read I Peter. 
Read the Gospels. Read Church History. 

B. Doing Things You Don't Like To Do 

1 . Ezekiel was called upon to do many things down in an 
unclean world that traumatized every fiber of his Jewish 
upbringing . . . just like Daniel. 



393 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

2. First there was his audience. 

Second there were the inconveniences and seemingly silly 
things God asked him to do to communicate his message, 
like drawing pictures (on an overhead projector) clay 
tablet; like cooking his meals on unclean fuel; like lying 
bound hand and foot for long hours every day for 
months; like cutting his hair and shaving his beard and 
going through the streets throwing little portions of it 
around while he preached; like digging holes in the wall 
and carrying baggage back and forth through them. 

3. I read one time of missionaries in New Guinea, in the 
jungles, among head-hunters. They were invited to a 
feast in the village of a tribe they desperately wanted to 
reach with the Gospel. The main course was monkey 
meat. Near the end of the meal, the old tribal chief took 
one of the roasted bones with a little meat left on it and 
began to scrape it off under his fingernail. Earlier he had 
been scratching his naked body all over and rubbing his 
fingers between his toes, scratching his matted hair. He 
began to roll this meat into a little ball . . . then he mo- 
tioned for one of the white ladies to open her 
mouth ... as she did he popped this ball of monkey 
meat into her mouth. She knew if she spat it out the chief 
would be deeply offended and they probably would never 
get to speak to the tribe of the gospel. So she swallowed 
it! Along with pride and revulsion and maybe even good 
sense . . . she swallowed it! 

HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO SWALLOW 
FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL . . . HOW MUCH 
CAN YOU TAKE FOR GOD IN ORDER TO BE A 
WATCHMAN. 

Are you willing to have no place to lay your 
head . . . willing to eat with sinners and 
publicans . . . willing to eat with and talk to 
hypocrites . . . willing to become all things to all men in 
order to win some? 



394 



A WATCHMAN FOR GOD 

C. Even when It Overwhelms You 

1. Ezekiel went, "in the heat of his spirit, the hand of the 
Lord being strong upon him . . . and sat among his peo- 
ple overwhelmed among them seven days." 3:14 

HE WASN'T BITTER TOWARD THE LORD ... HE 
WAS SUFFERING THE BITTERNESS OF THE TASK 
BEFORE HIM! IT SEEMED OVERWHELMING. HE 
WAS LIKE MOSES . . . THE JOB SEEMED IM- 
POSSIBLE! 

But when God makes you a watchman, he does not hold 
you responsible for results ■ — remember — only for pro- 
claiming and serving. 

Saving the whole world will always seem to us to be over- 
whelming. BUT SAVING THE WORLD IS NOT OUR 
RESPONSIBILITY . . . PREACHING IS! 

2. In one of Paul Harvey's books, Destiny (from a series of 
Now You Know The Rest of The Story) comes the story 
entitled, Anatomy of a Hypochrondiac: 

37 years young — too young to be dying — and yet the symptoms of 
terminal heart disease were unmistakable. She told friends that her life 
now "hung by a thread, which might snap at any moment." And she 
went to bed. And waited to die. And did not. Instead she became an 
invalid, a fearful captive of the fatal symptoms that strangely refused 
to kill her. So many symptoms — with but one source: 
psychoneurosis. It was all in her mind. This, then is the anatomy of a 
hypochondriac. 

The peculiar illnesses began when she was about 17. Her wealthy, 
socially ambitious parents had plans for her; she had her own plans, 
which included independence from her parents. While I do not mean 
to suggest that the young lady was playing sick, it must be noted that 
virtually all her illnesses followed family arguments — as though 
sickness had become her subliminal defense against parental 
manipulation. Age 33 she finally left home, got her own place to live, 
got happy. Her family frustrations gone, so fled her psychosomatic 
swooning. This bliss lasted for three years. For three years she was an 
achiever, a woman of responsibility and boundless energy whose only 
aches and pains were legitimate ones. 



395 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

You, the investigator of her case history, must be alert at this 
point, must watch for that moment at which she lapsed into her 
former self. She was 36 when it happened. Palpitations, respiratory 
difficulty, sick at the sight of food. Within months she was bedridden, 
her pulse frighteningly rapid. There she stayed. On occasion her con- 
dition grew suddenly worse, and the occasions were almost always 
predictable. Unwelcome visitors routinely inspired headaches and 
chest pains and gasping for breath. By now, apparently her 
psychoneurosis had become a well-oiled problem solving machine. 
She may even have understood it at one level or another, although 
outwardly she believed herself to be constantly at the brink of death. 

37 years old. Invalid. Anxiously awaiting the dread moment when 
her heart would drop out from under her. One day it did. She was 90! 

Her illness really was psychosomatic, you see. For 53 years, more 
than half a century, she lived in bed — for nothing. True, her confine- 
ment accomplished certain things. It brought the people she wanted to 
her side, as her sudden attacks drove the unwanted away. Her bed 
even proved a comfortable vantage point from which she could 
observe and administer the work of others. Yet the psychoneurosis 
which held her prisoner for most of her life had deeper roots still. 

Remember those 3 years during which she was not plagued by im- 
aginary illnesses? Those years she had spent alleviating the suffering 
of others. Most of that time at the Crimean War front. For the pas- 
sion her parents tried to suppress, a profession then regarded as 
unbecoming, was nursing. The young lady was happy only as an active 
nurse. Otherwise, she was a hopeless, helpless hypochondriac. 

Yet so astonishing was her physical and emotional strength, her 
sheer endurance as a nurse during the Crimean War, that nursing 
became a respectable occupation through her example. 

The world forgot, or chose to ignore, that she spent the rest of her 
life — more than half a century — in bed, in fear, in vain. 

You know her as Florence Nightingale. Only now, you know THE 
REST OF THE STORY! 

IF IT IS IN YOUR HEART TO BE GOD'S WATCHMAN, LET NO 
ONE DETER YOU! THE PERSON WITH A WATCHMAN'S 
HEART, MUST SERVE, MUST SPEAK, HE CANNOT BE HAP- 
PY UNLESS HE IS . . . EVEN WHEN THE TASK SEEMS OVER- 
WHELMING. 



396 



A WATCHMAN FOR GOD 

CONCLUSION 

Twenty years ago, about this time of the year, Easter, I was holding a 
revival in Grenola, Kansas (the town made famous by the Wartick 
family). With me was a young OBC student and his girl friend. They 
were doing the special music, etc. And let me tell you that "etc." was fun 
to watch — they were love sick. It was at that revival they announced 
their engagement to be married. The future bride's mother was there 
for a night or two for the occasion. 

Twenty years later, that former OBC student and his wife and family 
are watchmen for God. Hear what he writes: 

"We have been praying for the upbuilding of the Chinese Church in 
No. Thailand. In the last 5 years great strides have been made in this 
area. It is getting difficult to find Chinese communities where the 
gospel has not been preached and there are christians. There are still a 
few. Within a year the church in Piang Luang has doubled and is 
growing in quality. . . . Just a few years ago there were no Christians 
among the Shan. . . . Twenty Shans have started Bible training in the 
last year in Burma ... in order to preach among their own 
people. . . . This is an answer to prayer. And much more will be ac- 
complished if you and I continue to pray. I should say, Start to pray. 
Let's stop praying, "Protect and bless the missionaries" but pray 
"clothe them with your whole armor and put them in the battle. Let 
your kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven whether by our life or 
death. May every Power in the heaven lies be brought under your sub- 
jection as the gospel is preached." 

That's my dear brother, former student, and a little "Okie from 
Muskogee" Alan Bemo and his wife, the former Janet Dittemore. 
YOU CAN BE A WATCHMAN FOR GOD . . . YOU ARE A 
WATCHMAN FROM GOD . . . THE TRUMPET OF GOD IS BE- 
ING PASSED INTO YOUR HAND THIS VERY HOUR, THIS 
VERY SEMESTER! 



397 



Chapter Twelve 

The problem of weaknesses 
(12:1-21) 



IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1 . Why does Paul hesitate to say he is the "man" who was caught up 
into Paradise? 

2. What is "Paradise"? Where is it? Why couldn't Paul tell about it? 

3. Why, after all he had to suffer, was Paul given a "thorn in the 
flesh"? 

4. Why did Paul refuse to "burden" the Corinthian church to sup- 
port him? 

5. Was there still impurity, immorality and licentiousness going on in 
the Corinthian church? What would Paul do about it? 



Section 1 

Weaknesses in the Body (12:1-10 

I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will 
1 -Z go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man 
in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third 
heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, 
God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into 
Paradise — whether in the body or out of the body I do not 
know, God knows — 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, 
which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, 
but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 
6 Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be 
speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may 
think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And to 
keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, 
a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to 
harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I 
besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; 9 but he 
said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is 



399 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of 
my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, in- 
sults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am 
weak, then I am strong. 

12:1-4 Ecstatic Experience: Paul "must boast" (Gr. kauchasthai 
dei, "to boast it behooves me"). If he is to rescue the Corinthians 
from the false teachers, he must engage in the "boasting game" 
although it is not expedient (Gr. sumpheron, gains nothing). As far as 
spirituality is concerned, comparing the credentials of one human be- 
ing to another, little is gained except to prove who is a true teacher and 
who is a false one. That is a necessary "evil" that has to be settled at 
times (as it was here in Corinth). Paul must not only engage in the con- 
test, he must win it! It came to that point in Corinth! So Paul cites 
credentials that no other human being could claim (except, perhaps, 
the apostle John). He cites the vision and the revelation no other had 
experienced — being caught up into the "third heaven" — into 
"Paradise." Paul undoubtedly had many visions and revelations. We 
know about four of them. The first was his conversion experience on 
the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6; 22:6ff; 26:12ff). The second is 
simply referred to in Galatians 1:11. The third would be his call to 
Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10). And the fourth would be the one he cites 
here in II Corinthians 12. We would probably have heard nothing 
about any of them had not the defense of his gospel message 
necessitated their telling. We note that it had been fourteen years after 
the event that he finally decided he must tell of his being caught up in- 
to Paradise. And even here he is using this unique experience only as 
an introduction to the event in which he is really going to boast — the 
"thorn in the flesh." 

Why does he speak of himself in the third person? The Greek verb 
oida is present tense, meaning, "I am knowing a man." It was not so 
mystical and ethereal that he could not remember it. But it may have 
been so totally spiritual (disencumbered of all that is material and 
physical) that he simply did not know whether he was there in his 
earthly body (or any kind of body) or not! Some think Paul uses the 
third person to down-play any possible implication of egotism on his 
part. Twice he says he does not know — but that God knows. Evident- 



400 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

ly, the mode of his existence in Paradise was one of those things he 
was not supposed to know or utter. 

"Fourteen years ago" would place the event about 43 A.D., about 
10 years after his conversion near the time he was helping Barnabas at 
Antioch (Acts 13: Iff). The "third heaven" (Gr. tritou ouranou) is 
Paul's best way to express in inadequate human language a reality 
which is outside space and time and human experience. Paul was 
speaking in terms contemporary with his age. The "third heaven" was 
the way the Jews talked of God's dwelling place. They believed the 
"first" heaven was the atmosphere around the earth, the clouds and 
the air man breathes. The "second" heaven was beyond the clouds 
out where the stars and planets were. The "third" heaven was the in- 
visible realm where God's throne was. Modern man may be amused at 
this, or scoff at it, but it is still difficult to improve much on this 
language in spite of the fact that "space" is at least 6 billion light years 
away at its known limits. Every time the Bible speaks of someone hav- 
ing come from or gone to "heaven" (God's immediate presence) it is 
simply talking about the realm of existence which is invisible to the 
human eye. It is as real as anything that is visible to the human eye. It 
does not mean that "heaven" is away "out there" beyond the 6 
billion light years of space. It just means it is a sort of fourth dimen- 
sion of life and reality that is not visible to the physical senses, (see 
Heb. 4:14). 

Paul "is knowing" (Gr. oida, present tense) that "this man" was 
caught up into Paradise. He knew where he had gone, he knew he had 
heard things, and he knew he was not permitted to utter them. There 
was no fuzziness in his memory about the reality of the experience 
even after fourteen years! It was not a dream; it was not an imagina- 
tion — it had actually happened. 

Paradise in the Greek text is paradeisos. It is an oriental word, first 
used by the historian Xenophon, denoting the parks of Persian kings 
and nobles. It is an old Persian word Pairidaeza akin to the Greek 
compound, peri, "around," and teichos, "a wall." The Septuagint 
(the Greek language Old Testament, translated about 250 B.C.) has 
the Greek word paradeisos (Paradise) in Genesis 2:8 to describe Eden 
as God's "garden." The LXX (Septuagint) also uses the word in 
Num. 24:6; Isa. 1:30; Jer. 29:5; Ezek. 31:8-9. In Luke 23:43; Jesus 
promised the penitent thief that he would be with Christ that very day 



401 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

in "Paradise." Jesus sent a letter to the church at Ephesus to tell all 
who "conquered" they would be granted to eat of the tree of life 
which is in the Paradise of God (Rev, 2:7). We assume "Abraham's 
bosom" (Luke 16:19-31) is the same as Paradise. There the "beggar 
was comforted" while the unbelieving "rich man was in torments" 
separated from Paradise by an impassable gulf. Paul was caught "in- 
to" (Gr. eis) the "third heaven." The Greek text does not say he was 
caught "up." He was "snatched away" (Gr. harpagenta) through the 
dimension of space and time or outside the physical realm immediate- 
ly into the realm of the totally spiritual where the living Christ dwells. 
What do we know about "Paradise"? It is (1) a beautiful, perfect 
"garden" (like Eden) where man is surrounded by everlasting 
goodness, perfection, enjoyment, satisfaction, accomplishment, com- 
panionship, dominion and participation with God; (2) where the lov- 
ing, powerful, compassionate, forgiving, tender, faithful Jesus is, 
having finished man's justification before God and where he takes all 
who trust in him; (3) the city of Almighty God, beyond this created 
universe, not subject to its futility and doom — where there is no 
hunger or thirst, no scorching heat, no tears (Rev. 7:15-17). It is a 
place of eternal joy, eternal life (no death there). There is no mourn- 
ing, no sorrow, no pain, no ugliness, no cares and no darkness there. 
It is a realm of reality that will last forever in which, by the grace of 
God, forgiven sinners may express their gratitude to God, serve him, 
and bask in his grace and goodness. 

While we are in his body of "dust" we see Paradise by faith. But is 
nonetheless real, for faith makes "sure" what we hope for by God's 
faithful promise, and faith is the "conviction" of things not seen by 
the physical eye (Heb. 11:1). We understand it is unseen (II Cor. 
4:16-18), but we also understand it is as real as Jesus Christ's triumph 
over the tomb (Acts 17:30-31). 

Paul's experience in Paradise was indescribable (Gr. arreta 
hrematta, "unspeakable words"). He also says it was "not permissi- 
ble for a man to speak" of it (Gr. ouk exon anthropo lalesai). Perhaps 
he was so captivated by what he saw and heard he could not remember 
whether he was in the body or out of the body. He was undoubtedly 
overwhelmed or awe-struck with the majesty, perfection, holiness, 
power and beauty of God. He probably paid no attention to whether 
he had a body or not! That is how marvelous it will be in paradise. 



402 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

Here, we pay so much attention to the body we cannot enjoy life — 
but there it will be just the opposite. He was like Isaiah (Isa. 6: Iff) (only a 
million times over). He was like Daniel or the apostle John who fell down 
as if dead when in the presence of heaven's occupants. Furthermore, he 
was not "permitted" to speak of the things he saw and heard. God 
assigned certain persons the job of speaking of Paradise and God 
assigned only certain aspects of it to be described. God has his reasons 
for keeping knowledge of Paradise limited to the Bible we now have. 
In the first place, it is "beyond all comparison" (II Cor. 4:16-18). We 
could not comprehend it had God given permission to describe it. 
There is nothing in human experience or language by which to make a 
comparison, thus, no adequate description. Second, we might not be 
"able to bear" what God could tell us about it (see John 16:12ff). 
Should God tell us more many might neglect the spiritual exercises and 
necessities of this life of preparation as those did in Thessalonica (see I 
Thess. 4, 5; II Thess. 3). 

We rest secure in the absolute faithfulness of God's revelation 
through the apostles that it is the place where we shall be "at home" 
(secure, happy, fully ourselves, surrounded by love) with the Lord; 
that it is "very far better" than this vale of tears; and endures forever. 
It is better than we can think or imagine. It is beyond what human 
language can describe. The best that can be done is Genesis chapter 
one, and Revelation, chapters twenty-one and twenty-two. Beginning 
and ending, God's word talks about Paradise! And Paul saw it and 
heard it, and would not boast about having such an unparalleled ex- 
perience! 

12:5-6 Enigmatic Explanation: If you saw Paradise and were told 
you could not tell anyone else about it or brag about being the only 
person ever to have seen it, could you keep it a secret? How would you 
explain your dilemma? Paul's dilemma was that he needed to "boast" 
about his credentials as apostle, while at the same time he desperately 
desired that the Corinthians know him only as a simple christian 
believer who was no "super" saint, who had his weaknesses and suf- 
ferings just as they did. 

That is the reason his explanation of this tremendous experience in 
Paradise in these two verses (12:5-6) are so enigmatic! He wanted the 
Corinthians to be his friends, his brethren, and his "flock" because of 
his personal integrity, his love for them, and the spiritual power of his 



403 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

message rather than because of some "super" demonstration of 
apostolic authority. 

He will "boast" on "behalf" of the "man" (Paul) who must 
demonstrate a "super" credential for his apostleship. He has to — 
because it is the truth. He really was in Paradise. If he tells them this 
truth about the "apostle" Paul, it will not be foolish. He could 
"boast" about the excursion in Paradise for hours upon end if he 
wished. He could make all kinds of comparisons between his singular, 
supernatural trip out of this world into the next, and those "other" 
teachers in Corinth who were bragging about their background., And 
it would all be true because he, alone, could lay claims to such an ex- 
alted honor. But he will only mention that the event happened. He will 
not go on and on "boasting" or "comparing." 

What he will do is tell these brethren about the ordinary, every- 
day, servant of God, Paul, who lives depending upon the grace of God 
because of his ' 'thorn in the flesh . " On his own behalf he will ' 'glory' ' 
in his weakness. He started out "preaching" (I Cor. 1:26-31) to the 
Corinthian brethren that God's power found its energizing in things 
which were weak. Now he will show that he "practices what he 
preaches." He is "content" with weakness because that is where the 
power is! Human weakness, admitted and accepted, makes available 
an instrument through which divine power may flow. Human 
weakness, admitted and accepted, turns to the "source" (I Cor. 1:30) 
of absolute power. Paul wished not to be judged by what he could tell 
about "super-duper experiences" but by what they have seen in his or- 
dinary, workaday life as a servant of Christ and a preacher of the 
gospel. 

Paul's refusal to "boast" and "testify" about his great "moun- 
taintop" experience in Paradise should be a good guideline for the 
multitude of religious "stars" circulating Christendom today testify- 
ing of their "great spiritual experiences" or "visions" or "revela- 
tions." People are not converted to Christ by human "experiences," 
no matter how extraordinary. It is the gospel which is the power of 
God unto salvation and that is found exclusively in the scriptural 
record. No human "experience" atoned for sin; no human "ex- 
perience" can absolutely verify the justifying grace of God; no human 
"experience" can impute Christ's righteousness to sinful man; no 
human "experience" can give birth to the Spirit of God in man's 



404 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

nature. Salvation for the human race was earned by the perfect life of 
Jesus Christ accomplished by the historical, vicarious death of Jesus 
Christ, and sealed (or validated) by the historical, bodily resurrection 
of Jesus Christ. Any existential experience any human being has of 
salvation or sanctification follows and is totally dependent upon his 
knowledge of, belief in, and obedience to the Person, Jesus Christ, as 
documented in the facts stated above (the gospel). When christians 
speak, let them speak the facts of the gospel and keep their "ex- 
periences" to themselves! People are converted and edified by the 
word of God — not by our "experiences." In fact, "experiences" are 
most often misleading. They give people the impression that Chris- 
tianity is nothing more than "religion" which has its source in human 
imaginations or feelings or "experiences." 

Paul did not boast about being caught into Paradise because he did 
not get there on his own power. He did not assault the gates of heaven 
and fight his way in; he did not climb a "bean-stalk" and find the 
goose with the golden eggs; he did not earn a trip there by being "a 
good little boy." He was an invited, transported, guest. He was 
"caught to third heaven" (Gr. harpagenta heos tritou ouranou). Har- 
pagenta means, "to snatch or catch away" (see Acts 8:39; I Thess. 
4:17; Rev. 12:5) and has the idea of force suddenly exercised. He 
would not "boast" because he probably saw the same thing going on 
there that John saw in his "vision" — great potentates casting down 
their crowns in deep humility before the throne of Christ and falling 
down on their faces before the throne (see Rev. 4:1-11; 5:1-14; 7:1-17; 
20:11-15, etc.). It was a "trip" for Paul that made all boasting utterly 
foolish, absolutely disgusting, repugnant, stupid, blasphemous! Not 
even an apostle who miraculously spoke in foreign languages, healed 
terminally ill, raised people from the dead, was commissioned to write 
the living and abiding word of God, and was transported to Paradise 
would boast! How dare we boast of anything*. (Rom. 3:27-28; I Cor. 
1:26-31; Eph. 2:9). 

12:7-10 Exasperating Extremity: Paul was given an "excess" (Gr. 
huperbole, "cast over, or beyond") of revelations. He had more than 
any one in Corinth might claim, perhaps more than any other true 
apostle might claim! Wherefore, "lest" (Gr. hina me huperairomai, 
subjunctive mood, present tense) he be continually "exalted" or 
"raised up" there was given him a "thorn in the flesh." The Greek 



405 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

word skolopsi is translated "thorn" but is often used to denote "a 
sharp, pointed stake or stick" as well as a "thorn." What Paul was 
"given" hurt him like a wooden stake being driven into his flesh. It 
was te sarki, "in the flesh" and not psychological. The "stake" con- 
tinually harassed him (Gr. kolaphize, present tense verb, "to buffet, 
to strike with clenched fists over and over," see Matt. 26:67; Mark 
14:65; I Cor. 4:11; I Pet. 2:20). Paul lived with this pounding, beating 
"stake" being driven into his flesh day after day. It is doubtful that 
Paul was using the words in a figurative sense so we must assume it 
was some form of physical handicap which was painful or some 
disease. We do not know precisely what it was. Some say it was some 
sort of ocular (eye) disease because of his need to "write with large let- 
ters" (Acts 9:1; Gal. 4:15; 6:11). Others think it may have been 
malaria "which haunted the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean." 
Still others think it was some debilitating, impairing, painful 
disfigurement (a withered limb or crippling arthritis) which made him 
ugly and hindered his work (see II Cor. 2:10). It definitely was "in" 
the flesh and not simply the opposition he suffered or some fleshly 
temptation he endured. William Barclay cites the view that it might 
have been epilepsy since in the ancient world when people saw an 
epileptic they spat to ward off the "evil demon" they suspected 
possessed him. In Galatians 4:14 Paul says that when the Galatians 
saw his infirmity they did not reject him and the Greek word literally 
means you did not spit at me. 

What the "stake" was is irrelevant to us. Paul is not the only per- 
son in the Bible, or in history, who has had a "stake in the flesh." 
People have them, are born with them, endure them every day. The 
fact that God permitted Satan to deliver it is the problem! It is the 
every recurring theological or philosophical problem of reconciling 
the Biblical claim of the existence of a God of absolute power and 
righteousness, with the opposite claim that there is a supernatural (not 
absolute) being who exists with powers of evil and hurtfulness and is 
allowed to exercise those wicked powers contiguous to the all- 
powerful and all-good God. Satan was permitted to harass Job (see 
Job, chapters 1 and 2). He was permitted to tempt the perfect man, 
Jesus. Whatever he does, he does only by the permission of God. Evil 
is never out of control of an Absolutely Good God. That is what the 
scriptures teach and that we believe, whether it appears to be so to the 



406 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

finite experiences and thinking of man or not! God has given suffi- 
cient evidence of his infinite and absolute power, and sufficient 
evidence that his propositional revelation (the Bible) is absolutely 
trustworthy. We may therefore believe his declarations of Satan's 
limited powers. God's revelation to Paul concerning the purpose of 
his "stake in the flesh" will go a long way in satisfying the christian's 
mind about the presence of evil and suffering in this world. Please see 
Special Studies on The Problem of Evil, Questions About Whether the 
Devil Can Actually Perform Supernatural Deeds or Not, and, Is There 
Demon Possession Today As There Was During the Time of Christ's 
Incarnate Ministry? at the end of this chapter. If the problem of pain 
and evil is a real threat to your christian stability, we suggest you make 
a thorough study of the Bible books of Job and Psalms, and, in addi- 
tion, read The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis, and, What the Bible 
Says About Self-Esteem, by Bruce Parmenter, pub. by College Press. 

Paul's "stake" in the flesh was to keep him from elevating himself 
and losing the grace of God, to make him a vessel of God's power in 
the world. It was a continual reminder to him that he was not suffi- 
cient of himself. He absolutely needed God's grace! Without it he 
would be nothing! Without it he would be eternally lost. Whatever it 
took to keep in the grace of God he cherished, "boasted about" and 
was "well pleased" with. 

C.S. Lewis writes, in, The Problem of Pain: 



When Christianity says that God loves man, it really means that God 
loves man: not that he has some 'disinterested,' really indifferent, con- 
cern for our welfare, but that, in awaul and surprising truth, we are the 
objects of his love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great 
Spirit you so lightly invoked, the 'Lord of terrible aspect,' is present: 
not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your 
own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor 
the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, 
but the consuming fire himself, the love that made the worlds, persistent 
as the artist's love for his work and despotic as a man's love for a dog, 
provident and venerable as a father's love for a child, jealous, inex- 
orable, exacting as love between the sexes. . . . 

The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of 
God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning 
to the word "love," and look on things as if man were the center of 
them. Man is not the center. God does not exist for the sake of man. 



407 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



Man does not exist for his own sake. "Thou hast created all things, and 
for thy pleasure they are and were created." We were made not primari- 
ly that we may love God (though we were made for that too), but that 
God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love 
may rest "well pleased." To ask that God's love should be content with 
us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God. . . . 

What we would here and now call our 'happiness' is not the end God 
chiefly has in view: but when we are such as he can love without impedi- 
ment, we shall in fact be happy. 



We have quoted all that to help you appreciate that God's grace — 
even though it may include a "stake in the flesh" is sufficient to make 
us into a person God can really take pleasure in — a person humble, 
dependent on him, firm in conviction that he is our goodness, 
grateful, and able to serve others. The goodness and holiness of Jesus 
worked through people while he was here on earth by the power of 
persuasion. While here he worked on that which was matter and 
physical by sheer force — by miracles. But his spiritual power he 
worked only through those who allowed themselves to come under the 
persuasive, disciplining power of his grace. Grace (or, love) is the most 
persuasive power there is. If grace cannot mold a person into someone 
God can enjoy and use, nothing else can. Grace is all sufficient! Paul 
needed nothing else! 

For God to say to an apostle, "My grace is sufficient for you" is to 
say everything there is to be said. It is the ultimate statement from 
God! It eliminates a long, long list of things man, in his finitude, 
thinks is necessary for sufficiency. The world believes itself to be in- 
sufficient if it has no money, fame, influence, comfort, political 
freedom, peer-esteem, happiness, independence and self-esteem 
(pride). All these things are unnecessary for a man's sufficiency in the 
judgment of God! God's grace is sufficient because the power of God 
is made perfect in weakness ! 

The Greek word teleitai (present tense verb) is translated 
"perfect." It means "to bring something to its fulfillment, its goal, its 
purpose, its aim." Paul is saying that continuing "stakes in the flesh" 
are God's instruments to continually bring the grace-gift of his power 
to its purpose in the believer's life. And what is the end God seeks by 
giving us his power? It is to conform us to the image of his dear Son 
(Rom. 8:29) — to make us into a Jesus-person. 



408 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

Three times Paul prayed (Gr. parekalesa, "called upon, 
besought") the Lord that his "stake in the flesh" should depart (Gr, 
aposte, "fall away" we get the English word "apostasy" from it) 
from him. Three times, the answer from God came back, "No! — My 
grace is sufficient for you." God hears and answers all prayers made 
to him. According to his own infinite wisdom and love he answers 
either, "Yes" or "No." Let us be thankful that he often answers, to 
our eternal benefit, "No." Even an apostle found himself praying to 
his own spiritual and eternal detriment! The Greek word arkei is 
translated, "sufficient" and literally means, "sovereign, rule, en- 
throne" (see our comments on II Cor. 9:8). In other words God's 
answer to Paul's call that his stake in the flesh" be taken away was, 
"My grace must rule and be enthroned as sovereign in your life and 
this stake is necessary for that." Sinful, rebellious man will not allow 
God's grace to rule him without some "stake" continually thrust into 
his flesh! Yes, the goal God has for all your physical weaknesses and 
mine is to give us something in which we may "boast" and to make us 
content with his everlasting grace. 

These next statements from Paul are almost incredible! It is never 
easy to endure physical weakness. But Paul says (12:9b-10) that he is 
"glad" and "content" with his "sharp stake in the flesh." The Greek 
word hedista is translated "more gladly" and is an adverb in the 
superlative degree literally meaning, "most sweetly" (see also II Cor. 
11:19). The Greek word eudoko is translated "content" and means 
literally, "well-pleased." Paul was not "bitter" about his weaknesses 
— he was "sweet." He was not merely resigned to them, he was "well- 
pleased." 

He gloried ("boasted"), and was pleased to do so, with insults 
(Gr. hubresin, English, hubris, meaning arrogances, haughtinesses, 
insolences toward him), with hardships (Gr. anagkais, being needy, 
hard-up, destitute), with persecutions (Gr. digomois, being pursued, 
chased, hounded), with calamities (Gr. stenochoriais, literally, "nar- 
rowness of place," or "between a rock and a hard-place," means, 
anguish and distress). 

Question! Are you "well -pleased" when you are insulted, 
destitute, hounded, and between a rock and a hard-place? Are you 
"sweet" and "well-pleased" with your physical weaknesses and 
sharp, stabbing "stakes in the flesh"? We are not talking here about 



409 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

stoic resignation — but about being pleased, we//-pleased. Are these 
"weaknesses" with the divine assurance of infinite grace all you need? 
Can you get by on just that? Lord, deliver us from our usual reaction 
to weaknesses — shame, complaint, resentment, excusing failures, 
and self-indulgence for compensation. It is the way of the world to 
glorify human strength, beauty, fame, power, wealth and in- 
dependence, or to indulge the flesh as a compensation for weaknesses 
and sufferings. But the way of God is diametrically opposite. The way 
of God is to be "sweet," "well-pleased" and gratefully accepting the 
sovereign rule of God's grace as the compensation for weaknesses and 
sufferings. The world cannot "sing that song" — the world does not 
know that song, it is the song sung in heaven (see Rev. 15:2-4; 19:1-10; 
4:1-11; 5:9-14; 7:13-17). 

The creature presumptuously assumes his Creator admires human 
power. The Creator declares he admires human weakness which 
depends on the Creator's grace. No room for merit there. No room 
for demanding there. No room for bragging there (except in God's 
grace). The history book of God's dealing with mankind (the Bible) 
shows that God's power rested (Gr. episkenose, "overshadowed") 
upon people the world would call "weak." 

How Paul could carry on a world-wide ministry, day in and day 
out, suffering the beatings, shipwrecks, dangers and hardships (II 
Cor. 11:21-29) he enumerates is beyond comprehension. Add to those 
overpowering obstacles his "sharp stake in the flesh" and his ac- 
complishments for Christ are nearly incrediblel It is a wonder that he 
could get out of bed each' morning and put one foot in front of the 
other. When he was "weak," he was "strong" because he was ruled 
every day by the sovereign grace of God. Grace, "amazing grace" 
energized him, drove him, empowered him. He was immersed in the 
wonderful grace of Jesus. His faith in that grace provided the energy 
and motivation. God's providential sustenance each day provided the 
necessary physical strength to fulfill his mission. What Paul wanted to 
do sometimes conflicted with what the Lord wanted him to do (see 
Acts 16:6-10), so the Lord had to redirect his plans. Perhaps the Lord 
did his hindering of Paul through this "sharp stake in the flesh." But 
whatever Christ had for Paul to do, Christ supplied the physical 
necessities to accomplish it. What Paul had to supply was faith. Faith 
with God's grace produces divine power and victory in what the world 



410 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

calls weakness and defeat. With this powerful victory Paul is "well- 
pleased"! 



SECTION 2 
Weakness in Bearing (12:11-18) 

1 1 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have 
been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these 
superlative apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a 
true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with 
signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less 
favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did 
not burden you? Forgive me this wrong! 

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I 
will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you; for 
children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for 
their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your 
souls, If I love you the more, am I to be loved the less? 16 But 
granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, 
and got the better of you by guile. 17 Did I take advantage of you 
through any of those whom I sent to you? I8 I urged Titus to go, 
and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? 
Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same 
steps? 

12:11-13 Spiritual Signs: Paul's opponents (the Judaizers) had 
tried to convince the Corinthian christians that Paul did not have the 
"bearing" of a "true apostle." His "appearance," his "attitude" was 
not commensurate with the popular idea of how a ' 'true' ' apostle 
would display himself. 

Paul's answer: "My opponent's idea of a 'true' apostle is 
foolishness ! ' ' They think only in terms of worldly "signs ' ' and world- 
ly "attitudes." They think a 'true' apostle would go about "boasting" 
of his miraculous powers and showing them off at every opportunity. 

Everything Paul had "gloried in" was true! But the "foolishness" 



411 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

of having to glory in things which were his only by the grace of God 
bothered him. So he says, "I have been a fool!" They had "forced" 
(Gr. enagkasate, "compelled," "constrained" see Matt. 14:22; Lk. 
14:23; Gal. 2:3, 14) him into the "foolish" game of comparing and 
glorying. They should have "commended" (Gr. sunistasthai, literally, 
"stood beside him") him. They should have defended his apostleship 
and his personal integrity. Even if his "bearing" made him to appear 
to be "nothing" (Gr. ouden, unsophisticated, unschooled, and 
unpleasant to look at, he was in no way "inferior" (Gr. husteresa, 
behind, destitute, English prefix "hyster-" comes from this word and 
means, "loss of") to "these" pseudo-apostles who think they are 
"super-duper" (note his sarcasm). "Bearing" or "appearance" is 
outward and may be faked. The Pharisees were very religious in their 
"bearing" but it was all hypocritical. Modern "image-makers" have 
produced a number of men in the "religious market" who have the 
'bearing" of "minister of God." But what message do they preach? 
How does their personal life measure with the Bible? The Corinthians, 
of all people, should have defended Paul. 

First, the "signs" (Gr. semeia, that which points to, signals, 
evidences) of a "true" (Gr. men, "indeed, actual, truly") apostle were 
"performed" (Gr. kateirgasthe, "worked") among these Corinthian 
christians. Paul endured (Gr. hupomone, "remained under," "was 
patient") much immaturity and stubbornness by the Corinthians in 
order to win them to Christ and build them up in the faith. He con- 
firmed the gospel message with "signs and wonders and mighty 
works" (Gr. semeiois te kai terasin kai dunamesin) to bring them to 
faith. And then he imparted to them wonderful miraculous gifts of the 
Holy Spirit (see I Cor. chapters 12-14) to build them up in their faith 
and to preserve the true apostolic gospel since there were probably no 
inspired documents containing the gospel readily available to the chur- 
ches at that point in time. They "came behind no church" in possess- 
ing miraculous gifts by which to be edified. They "came behind no 
church" in receiving the services of a "true" apostle. Paul wrote them 
three or four letters and visited them at least three times. He sent his 
most prized co-laborers (Timothy, Apollos, Titus) often to work with 
the Corinthians (see Acts 18:1, 5; I Cor. 4:17; 16:10; Rom. 16:21; I 
Cor. 3:5; 4:6; 16:12; II Cor. 2:13; 7:5-16; 8:16-24; 12:18). They should 
have "commended" him. Instead, they defamed him, and were about 



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THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

to repudiate his ministry among them. 

Even though he had imparted to them miraculous powers no one 
but a true apostle could give, they were ready to reject his spiritual 
leadership. Their rationalization for rejecting him may be found in 
their attitude toward the spiritual gifts (see I Cor. chapters 12-14). 
While Paul directed them to desire the gift of prophecy (inspired 
teaching) which would edify everyone, they were so spiritually im- 
mature they clamored for the "showy" gift of speaking in a foreign 
language ("tongues") which edified no one but the person speaking. 
Paul showed the Corinthians "signs," but he emphasized the 
spiritual, the practical, the teaching signs. They wanted the spec- 
tacular, the worldly, the ostentatious. Paul's opponents, the pseudo- 
apostles, were probably telling the congregation that a "true" apostle 
would "bear" himself more spectacularly than a mere "teacher." 
They probably challenged Paul's claim that he was able to "speak in 
tongues more than you all" (I Cor. 14:18) and mocked his preference 
to "speak five words with the mind, in order to instruct others, than 
ten thousand words in a tongue" (I Cor. 14:19). 

Paul had given the Corinthians all the spiritual advantage he 
could. The only "favor" he had not done for them was "burden" 
them. He means he had not taken financial support from them (see 
comments II Cor. 11:7-15). Does Paul mean to ask their forgiveness 
for an actual wrong (12:13)? Had he really "wronged" them (Gr. 
adikian, an injustice)? While it is altogether possible that a congrega- 
tion may be "wronged" or even do itself an "injustice" by not having 
the opportunity to financially support the preaching of the gospel, we 
think Paul is using sarcasm here. Paul clearly believed he was 
benefiting the Corinthian church by taking no financial remuneration 
from them although he took it from others (Phil. 4:15-18). But some- 
one had convinced the Corinthians that the "bearing" of a "true" 
apostle would require being a financial "burden" on the congrega- 
tion. This issue must have been very significant for Paul to keep men- 
tioning it! 

12:14-18 Sacrificial Service: The signs of a true apostle are (1) hav- 
ing seen the risen Lord Jesus; (2) performance of miracles; (3) 
preaching a gospel of grace. But what Paul is dealing with here, in 
context, is another important sign of a true apostle — "sacrificial ser- 
vice." Humility, dependence on God's grace, working to edify chris- 



413 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

tians and congregations — these are what a true apostle does. How 
much edifying had the pseudo-apostles done? None! They were tear- 
ing apart. What had the pseudo-apostles "given" to the Corinthians? 
Nothing! They were taking. 

J.B. Phillips translates 12:14-15: "Now I am all ready to visit you 
for the third time, and I am still not going to be a burden to you. It is 
you I want — not your money. Children don't have to put by their 
savings for their parents; parents do that for their children. Conse- 
quently, I will most gladly spend and be spent for your good, even 
though it means that the more I love you , the less you love me." Paul 
is not contradicting the rest of the Bible saying that children have no 
responsibility to "honor" (support financially) their aged parents who 
may need it. Paul is the one who told children that supporting 
("honoring") their parents was "the first commandment with a pro- 
mise" (Eph. 6:2). Paul is referring here to young children at home 
who are not mature enough to work and support their parents. Paul is 
not going to ask the Corinthian church (his "baby") to support him. 
They still need to be matured, built up, strengthened. He will support 
them! Like a father, his heart's desire is to give of himself so that his 
children may grow into adulthood. 

Whatever it takes to accomplish that Paul is glad (Gr. hedista, 
"sweetly") to give. His children are "sweet" to him. He loves them 
with all his being. He will "sweetly" spend (Gr. dapaneso, expend, 
consume, squander, see Luke 15:14) and be spent (Gr. 
ekdapanethesomai, first person, singular, future, indicative passive, 
"allow myself to be consumed, exhausted") for your souls (Gr. huper 
ton psuchon, on behalf of your souls). He is willing to be completely 
used up, depleted of energy, strength and worldly possessions for their 
spiritual good (souls). A man who would be willing to be "anathema" 
from Christ for the sake of his Jewish brethren (Rom. 9:1-2) would be 
sincere in this promise as uncommon as it may be even among chris- 
tians. 

If Paul had shown more love for the Corinthians than he had for 
other churches, this would not be strange. Love must necessarily be 
more often shown to "problem" children than to others. This does 
not mean he loved the Corinthians more. He is trying to cajole them 
or chide them and call them back to their devotion to him. Abundant 
love to the "problem" child is often repaid by rebuff and rejection 



414 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

(see the prophet Hosea). 

"They" (opponents and the few Corinthians they had seduced) 
were saying Paul was being "crafty" by not taking financial support 
from the congregation. "They" were probably accusing Paul of some 
ulterior scheme, some nefarious plan to really defraud the congrega- 
tion, "setting them up" by faking humility and sacrificial ser- 
vice. "They" were saying that if he had been a "true" apostle he 
would have taken their money and bossed them around and made a 
spectacular show of his miraculous powers. The Greek phrase alia 
huparchon panourgos dolo humas elabon is a participial phrase, and, 
literally translated is, "But being cunning with guile, you I took" and 
means, "being thoroughly unscrupulous." "They" accused Paul of 
"snaring, trapping or baiting" the Corinthians like one who hunts 
animals. 

His answer is four straightforward, rhetorical questions: (1) "Did 
I take advantage (Gr. epleonektesa, defraud, lead astray) of you 
through any of those whom I sent to you? " (2) ' 'Did Titus take advan- 
tage of you?" (3) "Did we not act in the same spirit?" (4) "Did we not 
take the same steps?" Evidently "they" were saying Paul had taken 
no support from the Corinthians, but that the "offering" he took for 
Judea was going to go into his pocket. They knew Titus had not 
taken advantage of them. They knew Titus had not acted dishonestly. 
Timothy and Titus and Apollos had ministered among them for many 
months. They were Paul's "children in the faith." They had not 
defrauded the Corinthians. Now, Paul asks, "Was my behavior 
among you any different than theirs?" How can they believe a man 
who could produce such exemplary christian servants as these would 
be dishonest with them? How the great heart of this selfless servant of 
Christ must have ached! What stress it must have caused, what 
sadness, what temptation he must have had to "quit the ministry" to 
leave the Corinthians to their fate! But he didn't. He exhausted 
himself for them. 

SECTION 3 

Weakness in Behavior (12:19-21) 

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been de- 



415 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

fending ourselves before you? It is in the sight of God that we 
have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, belov- 
ed. 20 For I fear that perhaps I may come and find you not what I 
wish, and that you may find me not what you wish; that perhaps 
there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, 
gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come to mourn 
over many of those who sinned before and have not repented of 
the impurity, immorality, and licentiousness which they have 
practiced. 

12:19 Presumptuousness: All through this epistle Paul has been 
dealing with the presumptuousness of his opponents at Corinth who 
thought he was writing to defend himself. That presumes, of course, 
Paul was in the wrong. His opponents were convinced all their allega- 
tions against him were true. The Greek text in verse 19 is emphatic: 
Palai dokeite hoti humin apologoumetha . . . literally, "Already you 
judge that to you we are making a defense. ..." The Greek word 
apologoumetha is the same word Peter uses (I Pet. 3:15) to urge all 
christians to be ready always to make a defense of the gospel — it is 
the word from which we get the English word, apologetics, a defense 
based on evidence and reasoning. 

Paul puts it this way: ' 'Are you thinking all this time that I have 
been trying to justify myself in your eyes? I have said and written 
everything to you as a man totally responsible to God and as one serv- 
ing Christ." Paul has said nothing to the Corinthians that God and 
Christ would not have said. In fact, what the apostle said is what the 
divine Godhead has given (revealed to) him to say. Paul's message was 
inspired and inerrant. It was not some defense of his own egotism, it 
was from Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They assumed all along he was 
a weakling. He did not "come on" like they thought an "authority" 
would. So, whenever Paul spoke sharply or threatened corrective 
measures, his opposition assumed he was defending himself. 

His exhortations, rebukes, warnings and severe words were actual- 
ly the words of Christ for their "upbuilding" (Gr. oikodomes, edifica- 
tion, construction, upbuilding). The Judaizers were in Corinth (and 
perhaps other opponents of the gospel of grace) tearing down the faith 
of the christians, taking away their liberty in Christ, destroying their 
hope of the resurrection, and enticing them back into their licentious 



416 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

Gentile ways. They were headed for spiritual ruin. All they had gained 
in Christ was about to be plundered. It called for severe, extreme, un- 
common action. This humble apostle was even willing to make a 
"fool" of himself and engage in a game of "comparisons" 
("boastings"). They assumed he was bent on defending his own 
bruised ego. Actually, he was very nearly compromising his own cons- 
cience (in the matter of "boasting") in order to rescue the Corinthians 
from the "messengers of Satan." All of his "boasting" about what he 
had suffered, what his Jewish heritage was, what he had accomplished 
was not to build up his reputation so he could "take advantage" of 
them financially or religiously. It was to mature them in their spiritual 
union with Christ. It was to help them benefit from and enjoy their 
spiritual heritage as christians. He would sacrifice his own conscience 
about "boasting" to keep them giving their attention and loyalty to 
God's word and keep them from being seduced by the pseudo- 
apostles. He did not want to constantly recite his credentials and 
proofs of his apostleship. But false teachers are so cunning, so deceit- 
ful. They do not have the constraints of truth and love that bind chris- 
tians. They are at liberty to say anything, do anything, pretend 
anything. That makes it necessary for christian messengers to have to 
continually "prove" the authority of their message. This problem 
continues to this day. People still think christians are egotists when 
they repeatedly stand up for and defend the word of God. Many think 
christians are "pig-headed," loud-mouthed, bigots when all they are 
trying to do is keep the world from being seduced by Satan's 
messengers — pseudo-apostles. 

12:20-21 Perversity: It is almost if some of the Corinthians were 
daring Paul to make some demonstration of "authority" or "power" 
by reverting to their former heathen ways. As an apostle, "an authori- 
ty in the church" he has really done nothing about the sinfulness going 
on in the Corinthian church. He has said a lot — told them a number 
of things to do, but he has exercised no supernatural powers as he did 
with Elymas (Acts 13) or others. They think he is "weak." 

Paul's fear about his forth-coming "third" visit to Corinth starts 
with his fear of what he may find when he gets there (v. 20). They may 
not be what he wishes when he gets there — and if that is so, he may 
not be what they wish he would be. He is going to exercise some 
chastening power, if they do not correct the sin themselves. 



417 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

He fears (from reports he gets) that he may find them still "quar- 
reling" (Gr. eris, "strife," in their Pantheon the Greeks even had a 
"goddess of discord" named Eris). He also expected to find them 
"jealous" (Gr. zelos, zeal in the worst sense, envious), "angry" (Gr. 
thumoi), "selfish" (Gr. eritheiai, rivalrous, competing against one 
another), "slanderous" (Gr. katalalia, speaking against one another), 
"gossiping" (Gr. psithurismoi, whispering, telling tales), "conceited" 
(Gr. phusioseis, puffed up), and "discorded" (Gr. akatastasiai, 
rioting, chaotic, separating). To this list he adds in verse 21, "impuri- 
ty" (Gr. akatharsia, uncleanness, moral or spiritual dirtiness), "im- 
morality" (Gr. porneia, fornication, porno-) and "licentiousness" 
(Gr. aselgeia, lewdness, perversity, wickedness). Most of these have to 
do with sexual sins and perversions so common in Corinth. It would 
be difficult to compare modern wickedness with that 2000 years ago, 
but hardly any perverseness today could be worse than that of Corinth 
in the first century. 

Now what Paul feared was that he would find them continuing in 
such gross wickedness and that would be proof that his work among 
them had, after all, been in vain. That would be humbling to Paul. 
Not that Paul was afraid of humility. That was the essence of his 
character now as a christian. But Paul is using the word "humble" in 
the sense of being brought to "mourn" or brought to grief. He would 
be devastated, should he find them acting wickedly, like a father who 
had "spent" himself to lay up a magnificent heritage for his child only 
to have the child disregard and despise both the heritage and the 
father. 

Paul is closing his letter to Corinth — his last one — and he wants 
them to know he has tried to be like the "father" in parable of the 
"Prodigal." That is what "ministry" is all about. He is not "weak" 
— but merciful like a father. But if it is necessary to "restore" them to 
the grace of God, his "weakness" will be exchanged for the chasten- 
ing "authority" and "power" of a "father" in the faith. 



APPREHENSIONS: 

1. Why was Paul so adamantly opposed to "boasting" (comparing 
ministries)? 



418 



THE PROBLEM OF WEAKNESSES 

2. How many visions and revelations did Paul have? 

3. Why does he speak of himself in the third person ("I know a 

man")? 

4. What is the "third heaven"? What is the first heaven and the sec- 
ond heaven? 

5. Just what does the Bible say about "Paradise"? 

6. Why is Paul unable to speak about his trip to "Paradise"? 

7. What is the meaning of the Greek word skolopsi translated, 
"thorn"? 

8. Was Paul's "thorn in the flesh" really some physical problem? 
How do you know? 

9. What is the theological problem about Paul's "thorn in the 
flesh"? 

10. What does Paul say was the purpose of his "thorn in the flesh"? 

11. How is God's power brought to its goal or aim in human 
weakness? 

12. How did God answer Paul's prayer for the "thorn" to be taken 
away? 

13. What did God teach Paul about the proper attitude toward 
"weaknesses"? 

14. Why did those opposing Paul accuse him of being "weak"? What 
did they see in him which they considered weakness? 

15. How did Paul refute their accusations of "weakness"? 



APPLICATIONS: 

1. Is it wrong for preachers to "glorify" God for what they have 
sacrificed in the cause of Christ? Always wrong? Sometimes 
right? When? Why? 

2. Do you know religious leaders today who boast about the 
"revelations" and "visions" they have had? What does Paul's 
reluctance to do so say about their eagerness to do so? 

3. If you had been caught up to Paradise and had seen it, could you 
keep from telling about it even if God told you to keep silent? 

4. What do you know about Paradise? What does it do for your 
spiritual life? Are you anxious to go there? 

5. Do you have a "thorn in the flesh"? Have you ever had one? Do" 



419 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

you expect to have one? 

6. What have your "weaknesses" taught you? 

7. Is God's grace sufficient for you? If that was all you had in this 
world, right now, would you be "well-pleased"? Why? 

8. Do you find yourself having your spiritual powers increased when 
your physical powers are decreased? Which do you prefer? 

9. What does it take to make you "content"? 

10. Would you consider yourself "wronged" if you could not con- 
tribute financial support to the work of the gospel? Deeply 
wrong? 

11. Are you willing to "spend" and "be spent" (exhausted in 
resources and strength) for the church (christians)? Is it 
necessary? What would happen if you did? 

12. Can "speaking" build up the church? Speaking as Paul spoke? 

13. Is such speaking being done? If not, why not? 

14. Do you mourn over people's spiritual weaknesses as much as you 
mourn their physical weaknesses? Should you? 

15. Is there impurity, immorality and licentiousness in the modern 
church of Christ? What should be done about it? How do we 
bring that about? 



420 



Special Study 
The Problem of Evil 

Condensed from Introduction to Philosophy — A Christian Perspec- 
tive, by Norman L. Geisler and Paul D, Feinberg, pub. by Baker book 
House. 

Three basic ways of relating God and evil. 

A. One may affirm the reality of evil and deny God (atheism) 

B. One may affirm God and deny the reality of evil (pantheism) 

C. One may attempt to show the compatibility of God and evil 
Atheism: Denying the reality of God 

If God exists, He is not essentially good. 

1 . Either (A) morality is right because God willed it or else (B) he 
willed it because it is right. 

2. But if (A), then God is arbitrary about what is right, and He is 
not essentially good. 

3. And if (B), then God is not ultimate, since He is subject to 
some standard beyond Himself. 

4. But in either case — if God is not essentially good or not 
ultimate — God is not what theists claim Him to be 

5. Therefore, no theistic God exists. 
Answers: 

1. Good is based on God's will but God is sovereign and not ar- 
bitrary. 

2. God's nature is the ultimate norm in accordance with which 
His will cooperates. God wills what is essentially good 
without there being some ultimate standard beyond Himself. 
The ultimate norm for all good flows from the will of God 
but only in accordance with the nature of God. God is neither 
arbitrary nor less than ultimate. 

Atheism: God should destroy all evil. 

1. If God is all-good, He will destroy evil. 

2. If God is all-powerful, He can destroy evil. 

3. But evil is not destroyed. 

4. Therefore, there is no all-good, all-powerful God. 
Answers: 

1. Premise No. 3 implies a time limit on God. God may yet 
destroy evil. 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 

2. It is possible that there is no way to destroy evil without also 
destroying the good of permitting free creatures. 

3. The syllogism may be turned around thus: 

A. If God is all-good, He will one day defeat evil. 

B. If God is all-powerful, He can one day defeat evil. 

C. Evil is not yet defeated. 

D. Therefore evil will one day be defeated. 
Atheism: God and evil are logically incompatible. 

1. God and evil are opposites. 

2. Opposites cannot exist simultaneously. 

3. But evil exists. 

4. Hence, God cannot exist. 
Answers: 

1 . The atheist fails to prove that God and evil are actually contradic- 
tory. They may be only contrary and not contradictory. 

2. Let us restate the atheistic argument here: 

A. God exists. (1) 

B. Evil exists. (2) 

C. (3) there is no good purpose for evil. 

D. Therefore, both (1) and (2) cannot be true. 

E. But we know (2) is true. 

F. Therefore, God cannot exist. (1) 

The difficulty with this atheistic argument is in proving premise 
(3) to be true. The only way one can be sure God could not 
possibly have any good purpose for evil is (1) either to already 
know God is not all good, which begs the question, or (2) to know 
the mind of God, which is presumptuous for any finite being. 
If there is an all-good God, it follows automatically that He does 
have some good purpose for allowing evil, even if no human being 
knows what that good purpose is. 
An important point for the theist to remember . . . since the point 
disputed here is logical or conceptual, all the theist needs to do is show 
some possible explanation for evil to defeat the non-theist's claim. 
Theists are not obligated to show in fact that this is the case. 

THEISM'S ANSWER TO EVIL 

God permits evil in order to produce a greater good. 

422 



THE PROBLEM OF EVIL 

1 . God freely created the world, not because He had to, but because 
He wanted to do so. 

2. God created creatures like Himself who could freely love Him. 
But such creatures could also hate Him. 

3. God desires all men to love Him, but will not force any against 
their will to love Him. Forced love is not love. It is rape. 

4. God will persuade as many to love Him as He can (II Pet. 3:9). 
God will grant those who will not love Him their free choice — 
forever (hell). 

5. God's love is magnified when we return His love (since He first 
loved us) as well as when we do not. It shows how great He is that 
He will love even those who hate Him. 

Thus, in the end the greatest good will be achieved in several ways: 

1. God will have shared His love with all men. 

2. God will have saved as many as He could without violating their 
free choice (I Tim. 2:1; II Pet. 3:9). 

Those not saved will be given their own freely-chosen destiny; 
thus the good of their freedom will be respected. 

3. Throughout all God will be glorified in that (a) His sovereign will 
has prevailed: (b) His love is magnified whether it is accepted or 
rejected (c) He has defeated evil by forgiving sin (through the 
cross) and by separating good from evil forever (through the final 
judgment). And (3) He has produced the best world achievable 
(where the most men possible are saved and secured from evil 
forever). 

There are two very important aspects of this theodicy that should be 
stressed: 

1. It is a "best-way" (versus a "best-world") theodicy. That is, this 
present evil world is not the best world possible, but it is the best 
way to achieve the best world. Permitting evil is a precondition of 
producing the best world (Rom. 5:20; Gen. 50:20). 

2. This solution is not a soul-making but a soul-deciding theodicy. 
God is not conceived as a cosmic behavioral manipulator who is 
programming people into heaven against their will. God operates 
with men only with their "informed consent." 

God never goes beyond freedom and dignity to save men at any 

cost — not at the cost of their freedom or dignity. 

Whosoever will may come, but whoever won 't will not be forced 



423 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 



to come. In a truly free world, God cannot make souls act against 
their will. He can only lovingly persuade them and then respect 
their decision — whatever it may be. 



424 



Special Study 

IS THERE DEMON POSSESSION TODAY AS THERE WAS 
DURING THE TIME OF CHRIST'S INCARNATE MINISTRY? 

It is my opinion that there is no demon possession of human beings 
today in the precise manner such as manifested in the phenomenal way 
it was during Christ's incarnate ministry (and perhaps as it was during 
the remainder of the ascendancy of the Roman empire). 

It is my opinion that the "binding of Satan" in Rev. 20:1-6 was in- 
itiated and resulted from the redemptive work of Christ in His Incar- 
nation. It was completed when the "beast" of the 4th universal empire 
(as Daniel predicted), Rome, fell. At that time, it is my opinion, 
demon possession, as manifested in the Gospels and Acts apparently 
was to cease. All binding of Satan is relative. He has always been 
"bound" to some degree or other due to the fact that God is 
Almighty. God is the only being who is Almighty. It is my opinion a 
part of Satan's binding has to do with the restriction imposed by God 
so that Satan's demons are no longer able to "possess" human bodies 
as they were during the time of Christ's incarnation. 

1. To have this opinion does not mean I deny the power of Satan to 
deceive the minds of people today who deliberately choose to 
believe falsehood perpetrated by "lying signs and wonders." If 
the definition of demon possession means simply that Satan has 
captured the minds of men by unbelief, I would agree. 

"Satan entered into Judas . . ." (Luke 22:3 and John 13:27) 
but he was not what other scriptures describe as "demon pos- 
sessed." 

2. Do the alleged demons possessing people today ever enter into 
animals? (See Matt. 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-36; Mark 5:1-16.) 

3. Do the alleged demons possessing people today ever testify to the 
identity and deity of Christ or the messengers of Christ and what 
their work is? (See Acts 16:17; 19:15; Matt. 8:29; Mark 1:24 and 
above references.) 

4. Do the alleged demons possessing people today ever speak out as 
recognizable separate individuals — definitively separate from the 
human whose body they possess? 

5. How may demons (alleged) today be exorcised? Is the exorcism 
always miraculous and always instantaneous? If not, is it simply a 
matter of conversion by the power of the gospel regenerating the 



425 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

mind through preaching and teaching? When there is an unsuc- 
cessful exorcism, or casting out, are those possessed by alleged 
demons doomed to suffer such possession until they die? 

6. Only Jesus could give power to exorcise demons. That was a 
direct gift and a supernatural power. It apparently did not require 
being a "born again" believer to receive this power — Judas ap- 
parently was given this power — he was one of the twelve (cf. 
Matt. 10:1,8). 

7. On the other hand, many pseudo-faith-healers today, and 
"ministers" from all differing theological and doctrinal posi- 
tions, claim they have cast out or exorcised demons. Whom are 
we to believe? Who has that power today among all who claim it? 
What are we to conclude from their claims? Who is to decide 
which are "real" demons and "real" exorcists? By what criteria? 

8. Demons in the scripture were not "ecto-plasm" — they were (ans 
still are, in the abyss) real persons! 

9. The psychic powers of the human mind over matter have been 
well documented. What some think is demon possession could 
very well be such psycho-somatic phenomena. Voodooism may be 
classified under this heading. 

10. The most destructive power of the devil is not possession of a 
human body but a mind or soul (cf. Matt. 10:28). It appears that 
while demons possessed bodies of some humans during Christ's 
incarnation — the mind or soul of that person was not possessed. 
Demons merely "troubled" humans (Luke 6:18); they "drove" 
people to do, physically, what they did (Luke 8:29). 

11. Of all the miraculous gifts the Corinthian Christians were given, 
exorcism of the demon-possessed was not among them (I Cor. ch. 
12-14). 

12. How do we know when someone is demon possessed? What is the 
criteria by which distinction is made between demon possession 
and epilepsy, mental illness, perverted maliciousness and crazed 
murderousness (e.g. Hitler, de Sade, etc.)? 

13. Is it not possible that all the mania for the occult and the practice 
of it is being used by the devil to get people to think he has powers 
which he does not really have (Rev. 13:13-15)? 

14. If demon possession could only come to those who were willing — 
was the "little daughter" of the Syro-Phoenician woman a "will- 



426 



IS THERE DEMON POSSESSION TODAY? 

ing" victim? In other words, demon possession had nothing to do 
with the willingness of the possessed. Therefore, exorcism was not 
done by "conversion" but by the exercise of divine authority in a 
miraculous way. 

15. It seems apparent that only Jesus and the apostles, or specially en- 
dowed disciples (Luke 10) could exorcise demons. This they did, 
not by "conversion" but by miracle. There is no evidence from 
the scriptures that this miraculous power could be given by any 
other than Christ Himself and that while He was in His incarnate 
ministry. 

16. If miracles of healing, speaking in foreign languages, prophecy, 
including "discernment of spirits" (I Cor. 12:10), etc., ceased 
with the end of the New Testament era and the death of the 
apostles (or the ones to whom the apostles imparted these gifts), 
so that we can only be certain of the documented miracles of 
Scripture, then the same principle ought to be applied, for the 
same reason, to demon possession and exorcism. Otherwise, we 
are in a quandry to decide about modern claims of demon posses- 
sion and exorcism among religious groups from one end of the 
doctrinal spectrum to the other. There are also pagan exorcists 
making claims. 

17. There really is not any documentation of demon possession in the 
Old Testament such as occurred during the Incarnation (with an 
exception or two, e.g. King Saul). 

18. It appears, then, that demon possession in the precise manner in 
which it occurred during Christ's incarnate ministry was uniquely 
for the purpose of affording historical evidence that Christ (and 
His apostles) possessed the Sovereign Spirit of God — that their 
message was one of victory and power over Satan and all of hell. 

19. A recent case in point, excerpts from article in Joplin, Mo., 
Globe, 3-8-81: 

Catholic priests were "attempting" to rid an 11 year old boy in 
Brookfield, Conn, of "demons." (The boy's name is unknown.) 

A 19 year old friend was watching these sessions, challenged 
the demons "to take me on. Control me. Leave this boy alone," 
ace. to tape recordings of the sessions. (Arne Johnson) was the 
friend. 

Johnson allegedly stabbed to death a co-worker (Alan Bono) 



427 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

after Bono had quarrelled at Bono's apartment. 

Johnson is now pleading that "he is not responsible for his 
acts" because of "demonic possession." 

Ed and Lorraine Warren, who worked on the Amityville Hor- 
ror case were asked to help the boy who "appeared to be pos- 
sessed" (the 11 year old boy). Warrens said they found "move- 
ment of objects and frightening manifestations" in the house. 
The Warrens said "the boy was indeed possessed," and he seemed 
to be possessed "off and on, 24 hours a day," said one family 
member. Tape recordings the Warrens made of some of the ses- 
sions have the boy making gutteral and hissing sounds, cursing his 
mother, and threatening to stab and kill those present in the 
room. • 

Photographs of the sessions show family members attempting 
to restrain the boy, who the Warrens said seemed to have 
superhuman strength. 

A priest named Virgulak was called to investigate the case; he 
has made several reports to the bishop of the diocese, but no 
public reports. He has "declined to discuss the reports but said no 
formal exorcism has ever been requested or performed on the 
boy." 

There were "prayer sessions" called "a deliverance" which is 
supposed to be "a lesser form of exorcism that does not require 
approval of the bishop." 

The Warrens say Johnson's attempts to help the boy were 
amateurish because "the only way to order demons out of a per- 
son is by using the name of Jesus Christ." 

Mrs. Warren said, "... (Johnson) he challenged what was 
within the child to take him on — and none of us ever do that, not 
even priests." 
Problems with this account: 

a. Based on a number of "begging the question" statements 
such as, "appeared to be . . .," "seemed to be . . .," 
"seemed to have . . .," "no public reports . . .," "supposed 
to be . . .," "approval of the bishop. ..." 

b . " In the name of Jesus ' ' means in the Bible, ' 'by the authority 
of Jesus." Does Roman Catholicism have the "authority of 
Jesus" to exorcise? The "name of Jesus" is to be used in ex- 



428 



IS THERE DEMON POSSESSION TODAY? 

orcism by only those authorized to use it (cf. Acts 19:13-16). 
Whom are we to believe now has that authorization? What 
credentials do they present for it? Do such exorcists agree 
doctrinally with the Word of the Holy Spirit in the Bible? If 
not, are we to believe they have the power of the Spirit? 
20. There are two Old Testament prophecies, clearly Messianic, 
which predict the cessation of "sorceries and soothsayers" 
(Micah 5:12-13), and "unclean spirits" or demon-possession 
(Zech. 13:2). Homer Hailey, in his book, A Commentary on the 
Minor Prophets, pub. Baker, sums up Zechariah 13:1-6 in these 
words, "A fountain for sin and uncleanness will be opened for all 
the people. At that time the falsehood of idols will cease, prophe- 
sying will be discontinued, and the unclean spirits will pass out of 
the land." Mr. Hailey contends that Zechariah 13:1-9 is entirely 
Messianic and says, "Once the foundation was laid and the new 
revelation was complete, the need for prophets would cease. 
Daniel indicates the same in a strong Messianic prophecy, when 
he said of the anointed one, the prince, that He would bring in 
everlasting righteousness, and seal up vision and prophecy. 
Likewise, unclean spirits, the antithesis of the prophets, would 
cease. In the conquest of Christ over Satan and his forces, unclean 
spirits have ceased to control men as they did in the time of the 
ministry of Christ and the apostles." 

Of course, these prophecies from Micah and Zechariah do not 
preclude the attempts of human beings and Satan to try to deceive 
the world that demon possession and sorceries are still super - 
naturally viable. We believe the Bible clearly indicates what is 
alleged today to be supernatural demon possession is no longer a 
possibility. Lying wonders and deceiving signs remain very much 
a possibility so long as men and women refuse to believe and love 
the truth and prefer to believe what is false (see II Thess. 2:10-12; 
II Tim. 4:3-4, etc.). 
21. The crucial and ultimate question about modern (alleged) demon 
possession is: Whose testimony is reliable? Whose testimony is in- 
errantly, infallibly reliable besides the testimony of the Scrip- 
tures? None! Any man today, without the inerrancy and in- 
falibility of the Holy Spirit to verify his experience and accredit 
his testimony may be either deceived or a deceiver. 



429 



Special Study 

Questions about Whether The devil Can 
Actually Perform Supernatural deeds Or Not 

1. There is only one Creator. No one else ever creates anything. 

God is said to have given the devil permission to take away 
Job's property. Job said, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes 
away." The devil did not have that power of his own. He pro- 
bably tried to get Job to think he did, but Job was not persuaded. 
Is Job right or wrong? Did God take away, or did the devil? 

Can Satan give an order that "fire should come down out of 
heaven" or make an image breathe (Rev. 13:11-17). Who is in 
charge of ordering things in heaven (or on earth)? Satan or God? 
While men were convinced the "beast" was invincible (Rev. 
13:18), God revealed through John that the beast was human 
(Rev. 13:18), not supernatural, not divine, not to be worshiped! 

2. Only God is Almighty. How does one distinguish what or who is 
almighty from that which is not? 

If the distinguishing criteria of almightiness appears in two per- 
sons or realms, can both be almighty? If only one can be real, 
what is the other? — partly real? 

It is a law or logic that two contradictory propositions cannot 
both be true! 

3. If one says we distinguish what we are to believe as actual or real 
by whether the attending message or doctrine is true and good or 
not, how does one substantiate which message is good? If we say 
the message of God does not lie, how do we determine it does not 
lie? If the devil has supernatural power how are we to determine 
that his message is not substantiated as "good" and those who 
claim to speak for the Lord as "bad"? 

The ethical value of what God says is good cannot be substan- 
tiated on the basis of pragmatism (it works) because that makes 
every person able to say what works for you doesn't work for me. 
The absolute ethical value of God's statement of "good" depends 
on authority. Authority depends on demonstration of faithfulness 
and sovereignty in the absolute degree. How could that allow for 
real supernaturalism to be arrogated to someone else? 

4. Did the devil have the real power to produce what he promised in 
the Garden of Eden? II Cor. 11:3 says he deceived Eve by his cun- 



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CAN THE DEVIL PERFORM SUPERNATURAL DEEDS? 

ning to lead her thoughts astray. 

II Thess. 2:9-12 says the devil, through the "lawless one," is 
to do pretended (Gr. pseudo, false, fake) signs and wonders, with 
all wicked deception (Gr. apate, cheating, beguiling, false impres- 
sions, unscrupulous) for those who refuse to love the truth. God 
will send to them a working (Gr. energeiari) of error (Gr. planes, 
astray, wandering, planet) to believe the lie (Gr. pseudei) for those 
having not believed the truth, but are having pleasure in 
unrighteousness. 

Does that sound like actual miracles are going to be given to 
lead people astray? 

5. The supernatural things done by God (and his representatives) are 
said to be moral facts in themselves which in trun delinate in 
man's experience the existence and nature of God (cf. Rom. 
l:18ff; Acts 14:15-18; Acts 17:22-31, et al). If there are other 
supernatural facts being done which are capable of competing on 
the same level, in the realm of the factual, what do they delineate 
— that there are two Gods? If these two supernatural facts are 
both facts, how are we to decide to which one we surrender? The 
one who seems to have the most workable doctrine? 

6. Is Satan's power to deceive in the reality of a supernatural event 
actually done or is it in the interpretation he wishes us to make of 
the event which appears to be a supernatural event? If it really is a 
supernatural event accomplished by the devil (or a human being 
today), what interpretation are we to make? 

7. Paul writes that we should not let the devil defraud us (Gr. 
pleonektethomen) by being agnostic about his devices (Gr. 
noemata, mentatlity — not miracles) II Cor. 2:11. 

The mind is powerful, Ideas and thoughts have tremendous 
capabilities. Mental, psychological trauma has caused amazing ef- 
fects over personalities and even over physical functions. 

8. Jesus stated that it was a logical impossibility that Satan would 
cast out demons for Satan would be defeating himself. Therefore, 
when demons are really, actually cast out, only the Lord could be 
doing it. If alleged modern exorcisms are actual, then Jesus is 
working through Catholicism, through witch-doctors, etc. The 
Jews of Jesus time did not really cast out demons or they would 
have had the evidence to really accuse Jesus of blasphemy. 



431 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

9. Two passages in Deuteronomy appear to conflict. Deut. 13:1-5; 
18:20-22. 

Perhaps Deut. 13:1-5 means, If what a prophet gives as a sign 
or wonder appears to come to pass, and if he says, Let us go after 
other gods ... do not follow him ... his signs are really false. 

One should not go after other gods because one knows what 
has appeared to come to pass, and if he says, Let us go after other 
gods ... do not follow him ... his signs are really false. 

One should not go after other gods because one knows what 
has appeared to come to pass has only appeared to do so. Only 
true prophet's signs and predictions factually come to pass. 

10. Those who did not repent of their sorceries, Rev. 9:21, repented 
not of pharmakeion — the Greek word for "sorceries" is the 
word from which we get English, pharmacy. Is it possible that the 
"sorcerers" worked their alleged signs and wonders by chemicals 
and pharmaceutical properties. 

The word translated magic (RSV) in Acts 19:19 is Gr. 
periergos and means curiosity, inquisitive, or literally, "Things 
that are appearing to work — superfluous." Things not reality, 
but things in the realm of question or doubtful. 

Elijah's challenge to the prophets of Baal is instructive. Elijah 
said, "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? 
If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." 
And during the contest the prophets of Baal could not call down 
fire from heaven! Even though they cried aloud, and cut 
themselves after their custom with swords and lances until the 
blood gushed out of them. Here is the time for the devil to do a 
miracle, if he can! 

11. Let us consider again the text in Job. 

a. God said to Satan, "Behold all that he has is in your 
power. . . ." The Hebrew word is yadeka from yod, literally, 
"Hand." This word is used metonymically for "power" in 
Deut. 32:36; II Kings 19:26; Job 5:20; Psa. 22:20; 49:15; Isa. 
37:27; 47:14; Dan. 6:27; Hosea 13:14; and Micah 2:1, but 
never of any supernatural power. 

b. Job's first disaster was perpetrated by the Sabeans falling 
upon his servants and slaying animals and servants. The devil 
could have put it into the minds of men by the vehicle of 



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CAN THE DEVIL PERFORM SUPERNATURAL DEEDS? 

falsehood (communicated in language) to do this. 

Job's second disaster is said specifically to be the fire of 
God falling from heaven. 

Job's third disaster was the Chaldeans raiding and slaying 
with the sword — nothing supernatural here. 

Job's fourth disaster is the death of his children while they 
were drinking wine, during a windstorm, Perhaps they were 
deceived by Satan into getting drunk and could have escaped 
the windstorm had they not been drunk. This does not neces- 
sarily have to be a supernatural, occult, windstorm which the 
devil worked — it could be God's windstorm. 

c. Job, chapter 2: 

God says to the devil, ". . . you moved me against him" 
(2:3) "to destroy him. ..." The devil moved God to destroy 
Job! 

The devil says to God, "... put forth thy hand now, and 
touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy 
face . . ." (2:5). The devil knows that only God has the 
supernatural power to touch Job's flesh. 

In 2:7 the Hebrew text literally reads, "So went out Satan 
from the face of Jehovah. And he struck Job with burning 
ulcers, bad, from the sole of his foot to the top of his head." 

Who is the antecedent of "he" — God or Satan? The 
nearest is God. 

d. If it is God really exercising His supernatural power in all this 
what does God give into the "hand" of Satan? 

I think it is simply the permission for Satan to try to 
deceive Job (and the world) into thinking he (Satan) is exercis- 
ing this power. Satan has permission from God to pretend 
this or these powers belong to him. 

How does Satan pull off this pretense? By lying to men 
and letting men use all human craftiness at their disposal to 
make it appear what is being done is supernatural. 

The devil, by lying, tempted Job (through his friends) to 
think what had befallen him was evil. It really was chastening. 
All that we think about physical discomfort or loss is that 
there is some supernatural evil doing evil to us. Actually it is 
all chastening. What is evil about it is the lie that it is not in 



433 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

the sovereign control and will of God. It is the power of fear 
(of death) by which Satan enslaves men (Heb. 2:14-15). Satan 
has no power to supernaturally kill (or even naturally), or 
make alive. He has the "power" only to lie to people that he 
has such power. 

12. Judas had power to do miracles (Matt. 10: Iff). He also allowed 
the devil to come into him. Who gave him power to do miracles? 

Simon the Sorcerer wanted to buy Holy Spirit power to do 
miracles but Peter said, "You have neither part nor lot in this 
matter" (Acts 8:18-24). 

It is possible, therefore, that those who would prophesy and 
exorcise demons in Matt. 7:21 did so through power given by God 
and then later became those "working lawlessness" (Gr. 
ergazomenoi ten anomian) (Matt. 7:23), just like Judas. 

13. Or, do we propose that everything which appears to be miracle is 
— but that only some are from God and some are from the devil? 

How do we decide which are which? Do we have to decide? 
We are told we should not permit ourselves to be deceived — if we 
do not decide which are from God, we are in danger of being 
deceived. 

If it is to be decided on the basis of which doctrine or works 
are good or evil — how do we decide that? From the Bible? How 
do we decide the Bible is speaking the truth? And does the Bible 
really say the devil has authority and power to do a real miracle? 

How was it decided at the very first (in the garden of Eden)? 
How did God expect Eve to be able to decide whether the devil 
could produce what he promised so she could make the decision 
of faith? 

OR IS FAITH, A "LEAP IN THE DARK" AFTER ALL? 
This is not an attempt to deny the Scriptures — it is an attempt to 
understand them. 



434 



Chapter Thirteen 

The Problem of Christian Maturity 
(13:1-14) 

IDEAS TO INVESTIGATE: 

1. What is the "charge" Paul says must be sustained by "evidence"? 

2. Why bring up the subject, of Christ's "weakness"? 

3. What "test" must the christian not fail to meet? 

4. What "improvement" does Paul want the Corinthians to make? 

5. Do christians have to "agree with one another"? 

SECTION 1 

Maturation Through Submission (13:1-4) 

This is the third time I am coming to you. Any charge must 
1 J be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 I 
warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn 
them now while absent, as I did when present on my second 
visit, that if I come again I will not spare them — 3 since you desire 
proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing 
with you, but is powerful in you. 4 For he was crucified in 
weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in 
him, but in dealing with you we shall live with him by the power 
of God. 

13:1 Witnesses: We have a written record of Paul's first visit to 
Corinth (Acts 18: Iff). In II Corinthians 2:1 he wrote that he did not 
want to make "another" "painful" visit — implying that he had 
already made one "painful" visit after the initial visit recorded in 
Acts. Now he indicates his plan for a "third" visit. He announces this 
"third" visit three times (12:14; 13:1, 10). The New Testament never 
claims to be a day-to-day, detailed, record of the movements and cir- 
cumstances of each individual mentioned. In fact, the Lord Jesus said 
and did many things which are not recorded in the Gospel records (see 
John 20:30-31). The absence of documentary evidence that Paul 
visited Corinth the "third" time should not be a problem to the 
discerning student of literature. 



435 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

We do not know the specific "charge." Actually, the Greek text 
reads, pan hrema, "every word." Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 
19:15. "Every word" being spoken against him in Corinth will be 
called to account when he arrives on his "third visit." 

Some think Paul's warning here goes all the way back to I Corin- 
thians 6 where the Corinthians had lawsuits against one another. He is 
trying, they say, to tell them how God wants such things settled. 
Others think Paul intends to "set up an ecclesiastical court" when he 
arrives for the third visit, try those who are "sinning without repen- 
ting" and execute needed apostolic punishments. 

In the context of these last four chapters, however, it seems better 
to assume he is referring to slanderous "words" ("charges") his op- 
ponents have brought against him. There are innuendoes and hints all 
the way through II Corinthians that such slander was going on. 
Charges were being made against him about the way he handled the 
money collected for the saints at Jerusalem, about his "preying" upon 
them, about his vacillations, about his weaknesses, etc. It appears he 
aims to bring these out in the open (see II Cor. 10:1-6) and demand 
that his opponents prove their "charges" with two or three witnesses, 
or repudiate them and vindicate his integrity. 

If Paul's opponents are truly followers of Christ they will be glad 
to clear up any "charges" against him. And they will do so by this 
scripturally sanctioned procedure. Evidence, by eyewitnesses, must 
establish every "charge." This is the procedure Jesus ordered for his 
kingdom here on earth (see Matt. 18:15-20). This same procedure is to 
be followed in Christ's kingdom (the Church) to this very day! This is 
the way to deal with "charges" against a minister of the gospel or an 
elder or a Sunday School teacher, or any member of a congregation. 
Preachers are especially plagued with the problem of immature chris- 
tians who pass on innuendoes, gossip, hearsay, and speculations from 
one person to another. Many preachers have been deeply hurt in their 
souls by this ' 'plague . ' ' Christians need to gro w up ! Christians need to 
understand that every "word" implying a preacher is not ministering 
in the spirit of Christ must be established or "sustained" (Gr. 
stathesetai, from histeme, "stand up") at the "mouth" (Gr. 
stomatos) of two "witnesses" (Gr. marturon, Eng. martyr, one who 
testifies). This is the adult, mature, christian way to deal with charges 
about a man's character. It is certainly out-of-character for a christian 



436 



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY 

to charge a preacher with misconduct on the basis of hearsay or gossip 
or innuendo, 

13:2 Warning: Evidently, Paul had not previously demanded 
evidence and witnesses for the slanderous things said about him when 
he visited Corinth the "second" time. He had let the matter pass, 
believing the Corinthians would know better than to be seduced by the 
false teachers. 

So what did they do? They accused him of "weakness" and 
"vacillation" because he tried to let the matter pass. He had hoped to 
spare the brethren and himself the pain of a "powerful" visit. But the 
seduction worsened! Many were about to be led astray! Paul must 
face the seduction down. The truth must be established. Innuendoes 
and gossip must be tried and exposed. The liars must be repudiated. 

He had warned them during his "second visit" that if the matter of 
the false teachers was not settled, he would come a "third time" and 
would not spare them. It appears there were some in Corinth who had 
been persuaded that Paul had not proved Christ's authority in his 
ministry. They insinuated that he must demonstrate some proof — 
perhaps some "powerful" miracle or divine revelation. 

Paul's replies, in essence, "You have asked for proof that I am 
what I claim — the true apostle of Christ. You shall have it but you 
will not like it. I will show you my power by not sparing those who 
need punishment." The Greek word used here, pheisomai, is almost 
always used in connection with "sparing" some punishment. Paul had 
demonstrated his power to punish false teachers ("servants of Satan") 
when he miraculously made Elymas blind (see Acts 13:4-12). 

The mature christian does not need continual demonstration of 
apostolic "power." The mature christian will respond with repentance 
when confronted with verbal warning from an apostle. But these Cor- 
inthian christians were immature! (see I Cor. 3: Iff; 14:20ff). And so 
are many christians today! 

Spiritual "children" insist on demonstrations of authority. And 
all Christians are spiritual "children" at their beginning walk with 
Jesus. The Biblical record of miracles done in the presence of 
eyewitnesses is there to supply the need for a demonstration of 
"power" and "authority." Once that record is established and be- 
lieved, however, the christian "babe" needs go on to christian 
maturation and not require repeated demonstrations of apostolic 



437 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

authority. 

13:3-4 Weakness: It is probable that the false teachers at Corinth 
had led some of the church members to think Christ had been 
crucified because he was "weak." Remember, this was what the 
Jewish rulers thought — Jesus of Nazareth was a weakling. It was 
what the majority of the populace of Jerusalem thought. It was what 
Pilate thought. It was even what his own apostles and disciples 
thought until after his resurrection. 

There were those in Corinth having difficulty with the resurrection 
of Christ (see I Cor. 15). This very significant problem to their faith 
would present the Judaizers a ready-made opportunity to persuade 
some that a "crucified Messiah" is a "weak" Messiah. Furthermore, 
Judaizers would try to convince believers that a Messiah not ad- 
vocating the Mosaic Law and Judaisitic system was a "weak" 
Messiah. 

But Paul says, "The Messiah is not weak in what he is doing in 
you, is he? He is powerful! The very fact that you are christians in 
comparison to what some of you were (I Cor. 6:9, 11) is a demonstra- 
tion of Christ's power!" Furthermore, all the powerful spiritual gifts 
they had been exercising by Paul's mediation in the name of Christ 
was proof of Christ's power! It should have been clear that they did 
not get this regenerating power and their charismatic miracles from 
the Mosaic Law or the Jewish system. 

Many philosophies and theologies today look upon the Christ of 
the Bible as a "weak" Christ. Unbelieving theologians look upon the 
miracles of the Gospel accounts as mythological embellishments by 
"ignorant ancients" to give an "aura" of power to the religion of 
pacifistic, weak Jesus. So, to restore the "historical Jesus" to the 
world and to give him and his "religion" more power, these 
theologians aim to "demythologize" the Gospels. That is, they set 
about stripping the Gospel accounts of all miraculous events or deeds 
or prophecies. They would eliminate all absolutes, all command- 
ments, all Jesus' claims to deity, the virgin birth of Jesus, Christ's 
resurrection from the dead and all other miracles. Thus they would 
give us a strong, "historical Jesus." 

Jesus was "weak" according to an unbelieving world's criterion of 
"weakness." He did go meekly to the cross with no physical 
resistance. He made no struggle to free himself. He appealed only to 



438 



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY 

the truth and to men's consciences to deter them from crucifying him 
because he was innocent of their accusations. But the literal, 
historical, actual, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 
proved all his claims to divine power, proved all his claims to moral 
perfection, proved all his claims to supernatural revelation, and 
proved that he did not die in "weakness" but in the power of God. 
His resurrection proves the power of his death to vicariously atone for 
all the sins of those who believe and trust in his grace. He proved by 
his resurrection that he had overcome the ultimate enemies of the 
human race — sin and death. That is power! No other being has ever 
had that power! 

Believers should have no problem acknowledging the power of 
Jesus. He has demonstrated his power objectively in history, over sin 
and death. And because of this historical act of power, his power for 
righteousness (through his grace) works in all human beings who sur- 
render to him in faith. Any doubting of his power is a retrogression 
toward spiritual immaturity. 



SECTION 2 

Maturation Through Self-Examination (13:5-10) 

5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your 
faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in 
you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will 
find out that we have not failed. 7 But we pray God that you may 
not do wrong — not that we may appear to have met the test, but 
that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have 
failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only 
for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are 
strong. What we pray for is your improvement. 10 I write this 
while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not 
have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has 
given me for building up and not for tearing down. 

13:5 Checking Oneself: The whole purpose of preaching is to pro- 
duce self-examination in the hearer. A major difficulty most preachers 



439 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

face is this very concept. Too often some of those who sit and listen to 
their preacher's sermons believe the preacher is "examining" them. 
Resentment builds, and people are offended, and congregations are 
divided. And sometimes people, like some of the Corinthians, do not 
understand that preaching the apostolic word is intended to produce 
self-examination. 

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." He also 
said, "Know thyself." There is only one way a person can really ex- 
amine "self." That is by reading and believing the Bible. The prophet 
Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperate- 
ly corrupt: who can understand it? I search the mind and try the heart, 
to give to every man according to his ways, says the Lord" (Jer. 17:9). 
No human being can know his own heart, regardless of how often and 
how thoroughly he thinks he examines "himself." Man is prone to 
"self-deception." The apostle Paul verified the idea that human be- 
ings cannot accurately examine "self" when he wrote that he would 
not even judge himself because he would be an imperfect judge of 
himself. Paul contended that only the Lord could judge him (know 
him) perfectly (I Cor. 4:3-5). 

Yet, here is the same apostle telling the Corinthians to "examine" 
(Gr. peirazete "test, try, prove") themselves to see if they are "in" 
(Gr. en, "in") the faith. He repeats, "Test yourselves" (Gr. 
dokimazete, "prove as the purity and worth of metals are proved in a 
crucible"). Both Greek verbs are present tense, imperative mood. 
Literally translated they are apostolic commandments for christians to 
go on or continually prove and test themselves to determine whether 
they are "in the faith" or not. The spiritual immaturity of these Cor- 
inthians which would make them vulnerable to false teachers made 
their standing "in the faith" tenuous, so Paul said they needed a 
"theological check." The Bible is the living word of God, operative 
(Gr. energes, "energized") and incisive (Gr. diiknoumenos, 
"penetrating") exposing the soul and spirit, discerning (Gr. kritikos, 
"critiquing") thoughts and intentions of the human heart (see Heb. 
4:12-13). 

It should appear altogether logical that if a person wants to "test" 
himself as to whether he is "in the Christian faith" or not he will com- 
pare his thinking and acting to the objective standard in which the 
Christian faith is delineated and documented — the Bible (especially, 



440 



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY 

the New Testament). This is what Paul is telling the Corinthians to do 
here. They are to "examine themselves" according to the truth of God 
which he had preached and written to them. The apostolic documents 
are the divinely sanctioned, objective standard, of the Christian faith. 
Paul is saying to the Corinthians what he said to the Galatians (Gal. 
1:8-9). Any "other gospel" or "other Jesus" than that of apostolic 
preaching and writing is false and based on a false teacher's subjective 
"imaginations" and "arrogances." 

Both of the Greek words Paul uses (peirazete and dokimazete) are 
words used to indicate a procedure by which something is tried, tested, 
submitted to examination in order to prove genuineness, reality, truth 
and factuality. Both words indicate a procedure by which something is 
compared with an objective standard to prove its conformity to the 
standard. If it passes the comparison with the objective standard, it is 
proved to be real and true. 

Spiritually mature christians take the Bible in hand, read it, believe 
it, and examine their thoughts and deeds according to what Christ and 
his apostles say in it. They do not lay the Bible aside, disregard it, and 
examine their thoughts according to what they, subjectively or 
wishfully, want the Lord to say. They are seeking the Lord's will on 
every matter and circumstance — not their own will. They are deter- 
mined to understand what Christ and the apostles actually say and 
write, according to what words mean, contextually, historically, 
grammatically. 

Pooled. human knowledge, sociologically accumulated mores, 
technological advancement, human autonomy, has no right to say the 
words of Christ and his apostles mean something different today just 
because the words were spoken and written some two thousands years 
ago. The words of the Bible mean what they meant as used by the 
writers and they mean the same thing today! In practice they may have 
to be applied to fit technological advances, but spiritually, morally, 
psychologically, philosophically their principles and standards of con- 
duct remain the same, because they mean the same! The moral prin- 
ciples and doctrinal tenets of God are absolute — they never change. 
They are never to be altered. God's word, the Bible, is a divine revela- 
tion in human language, a perfect, absolute, unalterable benchmark 
or touchstone (standard) by which any human being may examine 
himself to see if he is "in the Christian faith" or not. 



441 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

But the huge majority of the world (including many religious peo- 
ple) want to "examine" the human heart by "subjective" standards. 
They want to rewrite the Bible to conform it to "subjectivism." That 
is simply a "cop-out" (a "smoke-screen") designed to usurp God's 
sovereignty and enthrone man's! 

13:6-8 Comparing With Others: It is very important to notice the 
order of Paul's statements in these next verses. First the Corinthians 
are to examine themselves (by the word Paul preached to them) to see 
if they have received God's grace. Second, if they have become chris- 
tians (by receiving the Gospel invitation through faith and obedience), 
then Christ is in them. That is the promise of the objective standard — 
the word of God. They need no subjective, emotional experience to 
assure them that Christ is in them if they "pass" the "examination." 
Parenthetically, Paul hopes his ministry has not failed to bring them 
into Christ. Third, if they have received the Gospel, are in God's grace 
and "in" Christ (which they can know by "examining" themselves ac- 
cording to the objective standard), Paul prays they will not do wrong 
(Gr. kakon, evil) but that they will do right (Gr.kalon, good). This is 
what Paul wants for the Corinthians, even if they have judged (subjec- 
tively is the only way they could have made such a judgment) Paul to 
be a failure. Paul is not saying a person has to be "right" or "good" 
to qualify for the grace of God or to become a christian. But he is say- 
ing that after a person has become a christian, by the grace of God, he 
should continually examine himself according to God's objective stan- 
dard of "good" and "right" and continue to strive for it by the power 
of Christ which is in him. We belong to God by grace. But that does 
not mean grace is to be "taken for granted"! The inexpressible 
unsearchable, infinite grace of God extended to sinners through faith 
in Jesus Christ should lead such sinners to constant self-examination 
and mental submission to God's direction as to what is good. Sur- 
render of the mind to God's objective standard of "good" will result 
in the christian doing deeds which his word says are "good." 

Paul is trying to point out that even if the Corinthians considered 
him a "failure," that would not justify the Corinthians from refusing 
to examine themselves by the Gospel of Christ which he preached 
(proved authentic by objective demonstration of miracles). Men do 
fail — even apostles (e.g. Peter in Gal. 2:1 1> — God never fails. His 
standards never vary! His grace never disappears! If a person has 



442 



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY 

received God's grace by faith in Christ, he must move steadily toward 
the "good" of God no matter what other men may do! 

While it may appear to the Corinthians that Paul was a "failure" 
he avers that his every word and action toward them was motivated by 
his desire to do the truth. He testifies that he would never knowingly 
do anything against (Gr. kata, opposite, beyond) the truth. He morally 
and conscientiously, always wanted to be for the truth. If he failed, it 
was not because he was against the truth. Even when he was 
persecuting christians, he believed he was "doing God a service" and 
standing for the truth. 

The person who is for the truth, even though ignorant of what the 
truth is, can become a follower of Jesus! But those who have no inten- 
tion of doing what is true because it displeases them, even if they know 
what the truth is, can never become christians no matter how "or- 
thodox" their behavior! There are such people. God knows that no 
human being can be perfect, but any one whose desire is to know the 
truth and have the truth and do the truth will come under his grace 
where there is no condemnation (see Rom. 7:21 — 8:8). 

13:9-10 Correction the Objective: The goal of all the "visits," the 
letters, the sending of co-workers to Corinth was to get them to 
"mend their ways." It was spiritual maturation, or, as Paul puts it, 
"for building up and not for tearing down." 

The Greek word katartisin (13:9) is translated "improvement," 
but it literally means, "set in order again" or "restore" or "repair." 
It is the same word which is translated "mend your ways" in 13:11. In 
other words, Paul urged the Corinthians to return to their "newly- 
wed" status with Christ. They needed to restore their "marriage" to 
Jesus and renounce any and all relationships to the false teachers who 
would enslave them to legalism. Paul used this same Greek word in I 
Corinthians 1:10 where it is translated "united." Our relationship to 
Christ needs constant "repair" or "restoration" or "rejoining." The 
apostle hoped this letter would "repair" their relationship to Christ. 
If it did not, he would have to use his apostolic authority, "severely" 
(Gr. apotomos, sharply, curtly, cuttingly, abruptly). 

Does apostolic authority wielded "curtly" edify (build up)? It did 
in the first century! Check the book of Acts. After the experience with 
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), great fear came upon the whole 
church, and upon all who heard of these things . . . and more than 



443 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and 
women. Paul's "curtness" with the Corinthians, Galatians, and 
others was one of his apostolic methods to save vulnerable "babes in 
Christ" from the "wolves in sheep's clothing" (false teachers). Jesus 
spoke "curtly" with Pharisees to try to save their souls. Jesus wrote 
"curt" letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor (see Revelation ch. 
2-3). The prophets of the Old Testament spoke "curtly" to an 
idolatrous nation of Israel and saved a remnant to bring the Messiah 
into the world. God's word, the church, christians are dealing with 
eternal matters — with heaven and hell — forever. All the severity 
necessary to "restore" or "mend" a person's "marriage" to Christ 
will receive glad thanks as the eons roll by in heaven! It may not be ap- 
preciated here, where too often our perspective is limited by the desire 
for ease and comfort for the flesh, but no discipline is pleasurable for 
the moment — it yields its peaceable fruit unto righteousness over the 
"long-haul," (see Heb. 12:11). Paul was a man who cared for 
people's eternal blessedness. He was willing to sacrifice their momen- 
tary displeasure with his apostolic "curtness" for their salvation! Are 
we??? 

Maturing christians should be able to handle "curtness" from the 
word of God. If life consisted only of pleasantries and flatteries and 
inanities there would be no spiritual growth. The life that leads to 
spiritual growth must be "salted" with the "fires" of warnings, 
chastenings, corrections, severities and even "curtness" if necessary. 



SECTION 3 
Solidarity (13:11-14) 

11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my ap- 
peal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love 
and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 
13 All the saints greet you. 

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and 
the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 

13:11 Agreeableness: Christian maturation (growth) is dependent 
upon christian accord. At the same time, christian accord produces 



444 



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY 

christian growth. They go together like "love and marriage." Once 
again Paul uses a series of Greek verbs in the present tense and im- 
perative mood. They are like the staccato bursts of sub-machine-gun. 
The Greek text reads, Loipon, adelphoi, chairete, katartizesthe, 
parakaleisthe, to auto phroneite, eireneuete. . . . There are five im- 
perative verbs in that sentence! They all end in "ete" or "esthe" or 
"eite." Literally, the Greek phrase would read, "For the rest (of the 
time), brethren, you rejoice, you restore yourselves, you admonish 
yourselves, the same thing, you all think, you be at peace. . . ."These 
they are to do continually. 

This is not exactly the most tactful way to end a letter. He is say- 
ing, "Straighten yourselves out!" The Greek words to auto phroneite, 
mean literally, "I order you to go on continually being of the same 
thinking. ..." Remember, Paul started his "first" letter to the Cor- 
inthians with the same admonition (see I Cor. 1:10). Paul does not 
mean that every christian has to have the same opinion, where opin- 
ions are permissible. But he does mean every christian must think the 
same way where the Bible specifically clarifies itself and where its 
commandments and doctrines are clearly made. The Bible is God's 
word, not man's! And when God commands, every man must see the 
command the same way, think the same way about it, and do the same 
obedience. Where there are no specific commands, every christian 
must think the same way about how opinions are to be exercised, not 
what opinion may be held. The matter of "thinking the same" must 
be of utmost significance for Paul to begin and end his two epistles to 
Corinth with an imperative admonition about it. Apostolic doctrine, 
apostolic principles, apostolic authority is of supreme importance. 
What we think about the Gospel and apostolic doctrine determines 
our eternal destiny and the destiny of others! 

13:12-13 Affection: Genuine affection is a sign of spiritual maturi- 
ty. Mature christians will find ways of expressing brotherly love. Paul 
uses the imperative verb, aspasasthe ("greet, salute, welcome, pay 
respects") urging the Corinthians to "greet one another" with "a holy 
kiss" (Gr. en hagio philemati) . The "kiss" of greeting was an ancient 
custom and generally upon the cheek, forehead or beard. The "holy 
kiss" (or cheek-to-cheek embrace, as in France today) was adopted as 
a formal greeting among christians of the first centuries (see Rom. 
16:16; I Cor. 16:20; II Cor. 13.12; I Thess. 5:26; I Pet. 5:14). The 



445 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

"holy kiss" was given by men to men and by women to women. Peter 
exhorts christians to "love one another earnestly from the heart" (I 
Pet. 1:22). Peter uses the word agape (divine-kind -of -love) in his ex- 
hortation. Christian affection is not merely sentiment or feeling. It is 
that, but much more. It is caring and serving and dying to self for 
others when one does not even "feel" like doing so. That is mature 
christian affection. Affection that will not die-to-self for others is not 
mature — it is a sham, facade, and feigned (hypocritical), 

13:14 Association: Ultimately, christian maturity depends upon 
the association a believer has with his Lord! Paul closes his "second" 
letter to the Corinthian christians with a benediction (prayer) that 
"the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the 
fellowship of the Holy Spirit" be with (Gr. meta, "together with") all 
of them. 

If christians have the "grace of Christ" and the "love of God" 
and the "fellowship of the Holy Spirit" they need nothing more! This 
is Paul's summation of all he wishes for the Corinthian christians. 
Sum up all he has said in this epistle and the "first" one, and this is 
what they needed. 

Sum it all up, and in every circumstance we may find ourselves, 
starving to death, dying in a hospital, being killed by persecutors, this 
is all we need! For this body, which we so devotedly try to preserve (by 
eating, sheltering, dieting, exercising, protecting, doctoring) must be 
shed before we enter Paradise. All of that which we think we 
desperately need, in the end, is not needed at all. 

If we are trusting in the grace of Christ, trusting in the love of 
God, and sharing with the Holy Spirit of God in his work in our lives 
and in the world, nothing can separate us from Paradise. As a matter 
of fact, we would probably be more apt to have the grace of Christ, 
the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit if we had less of 
what this world has to offer. Most certainly, if we have more of this 
world than we need, we had better be giving some of it away so it can 
make "friends" for us in the eternal abode because sooner or later it 
will all be left behind — even our physical bodies. 

Let us learn to be content with weaknesses (transitoriness) because 
in that, with grace, love and the Holy Spirit, we can be eternally 
powerful. And with an association in the Divine Godhead of grace, 
love and fellowship, all our problems, whether saint or preacher, will 



446 



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY 



become powers. 



APPREHENSIONS: 

1. How many visits did Paul make to Corinth? 

2. What is Paul indicating he is going to clear up when he arrives in 
Corinth? 

3. What does the Bible say about accusations, slander, gossip — 
how is it to be dealt with in the kingdom of God? 

4. What did Paul mean when he said he would "not spare" them? 

5. Was Jesus crucified because he was "weak"? 

6. How did God prove Jesus' death was not due to weakness? 

7. Are christians to "examine" themselves, or not? 

8. How is this "examination" to be conducted? 

9. Was Paul's ministry to Corinth a "failure"? How do we know? 

10. What if it had been a failure? 

11. Why did the Corinthians need "improving"? 

12. Was being of the same mind significant at Corinth? Why? How 
do you know? 



APPLICATIONS: 

1. Is the Biblical instruction on dealing with accusations, offenses, 
disharmony relevant for today's circumstances and situations in 
the church? 

2. Are these instructions being followed by the 20th century church? 
Why? 

3. Did Paul have any right to "warn" the Corinthians that he would 
not "spare" them on his next visit? 

4. Should christians today consider the apostolic writings as "warn- 
ings" to them. 

5. What should be done about apostolic "warnings"? 

6. Do you have any "power" from Christ in your daily life? What? 
How? 

7. Have you "examined" yourself lately to see whether you are "in 
the faith"? 



447 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

8. How did you conduct that examination? 

9. Can any person (christian or non-christian) make the same ex- 
amination? 

10. What if another christian "fails" in his christian witness? Does 
that mean you do not have to do "right"? Why? 

11. Does God expect us to always be "for the truth"? Are we? How 
much should we love the truth? 

12. What "improvements" or "restoration" have you made in your 
christian life recently? Have you ever had to "mend" your ways? 

13. If you had everything taken away from you like Job, and had left 
only the grace of Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the 
Holy Spirit, would it be enough for you? 



448 



Special Study 

THE TASK OF THE CHURCH IS TO 
EQUIP MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL 



The end product: An evangelist: 



1. Whose aim is love issuing from a pure heart and a good cons- 
cience and a sincere faith, I Tim. 1:5 

2. Who will be committed to waging the good warfare, holding faith 
and a good conscience. 1:18 

3. Who will urge supplications and prayers for political leaders in 
order that the gospel may be preached. 2: Iff 

4. Who will know how brethren ought to behave in the church of 
God and be able to lead in selecting elders and deacons. 3: Iff 

5. Who will be able to instruct the brethren about deceitful spirits 
and doctrines of demons. 4:1-5 

6. Who will have nothing to do with silly myths. 4:7 

7. Who will train himself in godliness. 4:7 

8. Who will so command and teach that no one will be offended at 
his youthfulness. 4:11-12 

9. Who will set an example in speech, conduct, love, purity. 4:12 

10. Who will attend to public reading of scripture, to preaching, to 
teaching. 4:13 

11. Who will practice the above duties, who will devote himself to 
them, so that all may see his progress. 4:13 

12. Who will be able to treat properly younger and older men and 
women, instructing them. 5: Iff 

13. Who will know how to properly make public rebuke of persistent 
sinners. This he is charged to do in the presence of God and Christ 
Jesus and the elect angels. 5:20 Who will not be partial. 5:21. 

14. Who will not participate in wrong doing. 5:22 

15. Who will take care of his physical condition. 4:8; 5:23 

16. Who will teach and urge proper human relationships with the 
world. 6:1-2 

17. Who will shun materialism. 6:3-10 

18. Who will aim for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, stead- 
fastness and gentleness. 6 : 1 1 f f 



449 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

19. Who will charge the rich in this world to do good deeds with their 
riches. 6:17ff 

20. Who will avoid godless chatter and contradictions or what is 
falsely called knowledge. 6:20-21 

21. Who will kindle a spirit of power and love and self-control in 
himself. II Tim. 1:7 

22. Who will not be ashamed of testifying of Christ. 1:8 

23. Who will take his share of suffering for Christ, 1:8 

24. Who will follow the pattern of apostolic sound words. 1:13 

25. Who will guard the truth. 1:14 

26. Who will be strong in grace. 2:1 

27. Who will commit the gospel to faithful men who shall be able to 
teach others also. 2:2 

28. Who will shun encumbrances not relative to service for Christ. 
2:3ff 

29. Who will be able to charge others not to dispute about words. 
2:14ff 

30. Who will be able to handle aright the word of truth. 2:15 

31. Who will purify himself as a vessel for the Lord. 2:21 

32. Who will shun youthful passions. 2:22 

33. Who will not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone. 2:24 

34. Who will be an apt teacher. 2:24 

35. Who will comprehend real opposers of the truth and avoid them. 
3:1-9 

36. Who will continue in what he has learned and know those from 
whom he has learned it. 3:14 

37. Who will preach the word even when it is not seasonable, with 
urgency and long suffering. 4:1-4 

38. Who will be always steady, and endure suffering. 4:5 

39. Who will do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill his ministry. 4:5 

40. Who will beware of the enemies of the gospel. 4:9ff 

41. Who will assist and strengthen the hands of their "fathers in the 
faith" 4:9ff 



The raw material: Young and old people from all circumstances: 
Examples of all types may be found in the scriptures 

450 . 



TASK OF THE CHURCH 

1. I Corinthians 1:26-29 

a. not many wise 

b. not many powerful 

c. not many of noble birth 

d. the foolish 

e. the weak 

f. the low and despised 

2. I Corinthians 3:14 

a. babes in Christ 

b. jealous 

c. divisive and factious 

3. I Corinthians 6:9-11 

a. formerly immoral 

b. formerly idolaters 

c. formerly adulterers 

d. formerly homosexuals 

e. formerly thieves 

f . formerly greedy 

g. formerly drunkards 
h. formerly revilers 

i. formerly robbers 

4. I Thessalonians 4:11-12; II Thessalonians 3:6-14 

a. nosy 

b. busybodies 

c. lazy 

d. overly dependent on others 

e. idle 

f. unruly 

5. Hebrews 5:11-14 

a. incapable of distinguishing good from evil 

6. I Corinthians 12: Iff 

a. those of differing talents and capacities 



451 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

7. I Corinthians 14:37-40 

a. those who misunderstand spirituality 

8. Galatians and Romans 

a. those with tendencies to legalism 

Examples of all types may be found in the apostles 

1. Peter - impetuous, big -mouthed, rough and ready to fight 

2. Simon the Zealot - politically right-winger 

3. Matthew - social outcast 

4. Thomas - melancholy, dubious 

5. James & John - ambitious, sectarian 

6. Philip - inquisitive but dense 

7. Judas Iscariot - complainer, criticizer, thief, traitor 

8. Paul - pharisaic, intellectual, cultured, zealous 

9. Nathanael - guileless, naive 

All the apostles had some of the following characteristics provin- 
cialism, pride, ambition, materialism, sectarianism, spiritual 
dullness, impetuosity 

Our task: demands as much of the nature of the Master Teacher we 
can assimilate: 

1. The propositionally revealed Word of God, the Bible, must 
always take precedence in training evangelists. Content, methods, 
ministerial ethics must all conform to this Word 

2. Instructional excellence 

3. Understanding, humor, sincerity 

4. Patience, longsuffering, love, forgiveness 

5. Forthrightness, consistency, adaptability 

6. Firmness, discipline 

7. Courage to face and denounce that which if false 

8. Sacrifice of self for the end product 

9. Refusal to accept anything but the best from each individual 

In short, our task is greater than imparting a few methods or ways to 

452 



TASK OF THE CHURCH 

quick success. We are not even primarily interested in preparing per- 
sons for a life's vocation. We are not aiming just at changing the life- 
styles of people. WE ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF CONVERTING 
PEOPLE. IF WE SUCCEED IN CONVERTING, WE SHALL SUC- 
CEED IN EQUIPPING A MINISTRY. IF WE FAIL IN CONVER- 
TING, WE SHALL FAIL IN EQUIPPING! 



453 



Special Study 
Values Are . . . 

Introduction 

C.C. Crawford, in Common Sense Ethics, defines the subject: 
"Morality is the relation of man's free deliberate acts to the standard 
to which they must conform in order to be suitable to man as such, to 
confer on him the perfection of which he is capable and to bring him 
to the ends for which he exists." 

I. THE MORALS AND VALUES OF MAN ARE AN IN- 
SEPARABLE PART OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE 
TOTALITY OF BEING. 

A. "When Gentiles who have not the law {revealed standard of 
right and wrong) do by nature what the law requires, they are 
a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 
They show that what the law requires is written on their 
hearts . . ." Rom. 2:14-15. 

B. Ultimate moral truth is incorporated in the structure of 
human nature and human natural relationships. This is 
sometimes called "natural moral law," or just "the moral 
law." 

C. Cicero said: "The law is not in opinion but in nature." In 
other words, there is a common standard of right and wrong 
which may be understood by anyone with common sense, and 
it has nothing to do with individual feelings. 

D. There is a universal moral law, as distinct from a moral code, 
which consists of certain statements of fact about the nature 
of man; and by behaving in conformity with this moral law, 
man enjoys his true freedom: 

1. The universal moral law is not a question of feeling, but 
of fact. 

2. When it has been ascertained, a moral code can be drawn 
up to direct human behavior and prevent men, as far as 
possible, from doing violence to their own nature. 

3. Defy this moral law and the race will perish in a few 
generations (See Rom. 1:18-32, esp. 1:28). 

E. Man's external relationships, seen from this "natural moral 



454 



VALUES ARE . . . 

order" are three: 

1. Dependence — upon the laws of nature and nature's 
God. 

2. Equality — with his fellow human beings. 

3. Proprietorship over subhuman orders and creation. 
These relationships inhere in the nature of things; they are the 
"givens" — man does not create them, nor can he change 
them in any way; he finds them here on his arrival in the 
world; and from them all his rights and obligations derive. 

F. THE MORAL LAW IS THAT LAW WHICH IS THE PRO- 
MULGATION IN MAN OF THE ETERNAL LAW, THE 
WILL OF GOD, THE LAW BY WHICH THE HUMAN 
BEING IS CONSTITUTED A PERSON AND BY WHICH, 
THEREFORE, HUMAN NATURE AND HUMAN 
NATURAL RELATIONSHIPS ARE ORDAINED TO BE 
PRECISELY WHAT -THEY ARE. 

1. The primary principles of the Moral Law are set forth in 
the TWO Great Commandments (Matt. 22:35-40, etc.). 

2. The secondary principles of the Moral Law are incor- 
porated in the broad general norms of the Decalogue 
(Ten Commandments) Exod. 20:1-17. 

G. The basic principles of the moral law are amenable to human 
apprehension (even to reason unaided by special revelation) 
by means of the principle of universalization. 

1 . The determination of the goodness or badness of an act 
on the ground of what the result would be if the act were 
universalized — that is, if everybody did it. 

2. Murder, theft, adultery, lying, perjury, convenant break- 
ing, disrespect for parents — universalized, would 
destroy social order!!! 

II. VALUES, DEFINED, (GREEK WORD FOR VALUES IS AX- 
IOS, "WORTH") 

A. Value-judgments are the very core of our being. They are the 
essential fibers of life. "To live is to act, and to act is to 
choose, and to choose is to evaluate." 

All human beings have a set of values or a value-system by 
which they make choices and act. 

B. Values come from meanings. In other words, we evaluate 



455 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

everything — things, actions, people — according to our con- 
cept of the meaning of existence and life. 

C. Meanings come from what we believe about origins, pur- 
poses, goals, destinies. 

D. The bottom line is that our values depend upon what we 
believe\ There are no people who believe nothing! Everyone 
has a "faith-system" because everyone has a belief about 
"meanings" and everyone evaluates and makes moral deci- 
sions on the basis of that belief! 

E. Values are what human beings live for and live by. Our 
thoughts motives, and actions are geared to our value-system. 
Every facet of human life is affected by our value-system. We 
choose our jobs, our mates, our education, our friends accor- 
ding to our values. We rear our children according to our 
values. 

We try to make our life count according to what we value 
most. 

F. Value means "worth." We "rate" thing's and people and life 
by our value-system. We rate things and ideas and actions and 
relationships on a worth-scale. And we invariably, inevitably 
live out our lives doing, thinking, relating, to what we have 
decided is WORTH the most! 

G. The crucial question, then, becomes, WHO OR WHAT 
DETERMINES FOR A PERSON WHAT IS "WORTH" 
THE MOST? 

H. Principle is another synonym for value. A "principle" is an 
ultimate, a primary basis of thought and action, a settled rule, 
a governing motive for action. A moral principle is a truth 
(principle) for resolving competing claims. There are excep- 
tions to rules, but never to principles. A moral principle is not 
only a rule of action, but a reason for action. 
III. VALUES WILL ALWAYS BE ADOPTED AND DECIDED ON 

THE BASIS OF SOME AUTHORITY 

A. The human mind finds meaning and reality from some 
authority. To finde ultimate meaning and reality, there has to 
be an ultimate authority! Authority determines meaning — 
meaning determines values. Values are always chosen on the 
basis of what is believed to be ultimately real, ultimately final, 



456 



VALUES ARE . . . 

(absolutely real or final). 

B. Authority is not optional — without it there is chaos and 
anarchy. All of life necessarily revolves around authority; 
learning, the social structure of the home, civil society, voca- 
tion — all depend upon some authority for their very ex- 
istence. 

C. Authority is inseparably connected with life. We cannot enjoy 
life or accomplish anything of worth without authority. 
Man is not the author of his own existence; he is creature — 
not Creator. 

Man is a contingent being (dependent). Every human being 
inevitably subjects himself to some authority outside himself 
whether he thinks so or not (even the Bible tells us this in 
Rom. 6:16; Prov. 5:22; John 8:34; Acts 8:32; Rom. 7:23; II 
Pet. 2:19). 

D. "If human equality has any worthwhile significance, it is ob- 
vious that no person has any inherent authority over another 
person. How, then, can nothing be added to nothing (some 
250,000,000 times, or ad infinitum) and get something?" 
Sovereignty, therefore, cannot de facto be in the people. 
Hence, it is a fundamental of Biblical ethics that God alone is 
Sovereign of the universe; that, therefore, all human exercise 
of authority is by His sufferance. Cf. Rom. 13:1; Jer. 
18:7-10; 27:1-15; Isa. 10:5-19, I Pet. 2:13-17, etc.). 

E. Values derived from human authority alone are inadequate! 

1 . Logic proves it. The mind of man must think functionally 
within the framework of reality (this present creation). 
The mind receives information from the data of reality — 
sifts that info through the innate logical categories — and 
produces concepts and ideas. The great apostle Paul tells 
us that our data (creation) forces the mind to 
acknowledge a power or authority higher than itself (a 
god) (Rom. l:18ff). Now the human mind may "refuse" 
to acknowledge Jehovah as that higher authority — but it 
cannot dismiss the logical demand for a higher authority! 

2. History (both ancient and contemporary) proves it. Sure- 
ly the history of man is long enough, broad enough, detailed 
enough to document the bankruptcy of human concepts 



457 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

of a higher (divine) authority. The inhumanities and 
obscenities of ancient civilizations, compared with the 
moral stature and cultural refinement of the Israelites 
(when they accepted the authority of Jehovah) show the 
stark contrast! The ethical and cultural leavening of 
society by true, Biblical Christianity contrasted with 
godless ideological (fascist, communist) societies proves 
it. 

3. Contemporary experience proves it. Evolutionism has 
proven irrelevant and powerless to fulfill the needs of 
contemporary man. Humanism (man as the ultimate 
authority, ultimate meaning, ultimate reality) has proven 
not only impotent, but illogical and self-contradictory. 
All humanistic systems of authority and value have ex- 
perientially produced only despair — this can be 
documented from the writings of humanistic 
philosophers, theologians, and artists. 

The "Nego" {Life magazine, May 25, 1962) . . . "This is a 
world of madness-absurd, stupid. Nothing's solid. There 
are no values to depend upon. . . .1 haven't any goals 
because I don't know what to aim for. ..." 
THESE WERE STUDENTS FROM SOME OF THE 
MOST PRESTIGIOUS PREP-SCHOOLS IN 
AMERICA, 25 YEARS AGO, INTERVIEWED 
ABOUT THEIR VIEWS OF LIFE'S MEANING, 
VALUES, GOALS. AND DO YOU KNOW WHERE 
THEY PUT THE BLAME FOR THEIR DESPAIR? ON 
DARWINISM, FREUDIANISM, HUMANISM! 

4. Man is finite and all his knowledge is limited by his 
finiteness. Death is the ultimate authority on the human 
level — and that can produce no other perspective (view- 
point, meaning, reality) than DESPAIR! 

All humanistic values, when death is the ultimate, 
become worthless! 

"Life is never more absurd than at the grave" — Camus. 
Existential philosophy is teaching people today (young 
people in H.S. and college) that man is a meaningless pas- 
sion thrust into an unwanted, meaningless, existence. 



458 



VALUES ARE . . . 

If meaningless is man's ultimate authority — his value- 
system will tell him that there is no value in anything or 
anyone — not even in life itself! 

VALUES CANNOT BE DETERMINED BY CONSEQUENCES 
(PRAGMATISM) BECAUSE MAN DOES NOT KNOW THE 
FUTURE. . . . NOR CAN HE PERCEIVE OR PREDICT "HID- 
DEN" CONSEQUENCES! 

■III. VALUES ARE NEEDS — NOT WANTS 

A. Values must come from some objectivity outside the human 
ego itself. Values cannot be left to total subjectivity for their 
source. 

1. Man is innately self-centered, egoistic, selfish. The 
"flesh" (humanness) focuses on self-preservation at all 
costs. 

2. When human beings are honest with themselves they will 
admit this (Paul the apostle did — Rom. 7:15-25; Gal. 
5:16-17). 

Everyday experience teaches us this truth. We are always 
"wanting" and seldom saying, "I need" — especially 
when it may be physically or psychologically unpleasant. 

3. Conscience proves this truth! Often we "want" things or 
evaluate things (or relationships) as "worthy" against 
our conscience which tells us we do not "need" what we 
"want." 

4. The very fact that we feel "oughtness" tells us that our 
value-system must come from without — apart from our 
own selves. 

5. All human beings do, as a matter of fact, come to their 
values from some source outside themselves. 

Even those humanists and existentialists who strongly ad- 
vocate that values must come solely from within the 
human being himself, ARE TELLING OTHERS (AND 
WHEN YOU TELL SOMEONE SOMETHING YOU 
BECOME AN "AUTHORITY") WHAT THE SOURCE 
OF THEIR VALUES SHOULD BE!! 

B. Because values are primarily what we NEED instead of what 



459 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

we want we must have values revealed to us from an AB- 
SOLUTE SOURCE ... AN ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY. 
We must find an absolutely Sovereign Person who knows and 
is able to reveal what is absolutely valuable for us. 

1 . Without an absolute, infallible source, revealing values to 
finite human beings, such beings are left with finite, 
relativistic values. 

2. Without an absolute, final, unimpeachable source for 
values outside of finite man himself, he will invariably 
decide what is valuable for him relative to THE FLESH, 
TO HIS HUMANNESS, AND SELFISHLY . . . 
EGOCENTRICALLY! 

3. Of course, the humanist is going to say, "What is wrong 
with ego-centricity?" 

What is wrong with it is — MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING! 
He is thrust into a social existence, whether he wants it or 
not. He does not, cannot, exist without others and rela- 
tionships with them. 

To practice a value-system based totally on egocentricity 
is impossible, and, were it possible, it would lead to social 
chaos and destruction. 

4. Total egocentricity in the determination of meaning, 
choice of values, and in actions is the EXISTENTIAL 
DOCTRINE (but not the existential practice). 

The Bible clearly teaches that what man often wants is not 
what he always NEEDS! 

1. Paul wanted God to take away his "thorn in the flesh," 
but God said that His grace was sufficient (what Paul 
needed) for Paul II Cor. 12. 

2. What the rich young ruler wanted was to be a disciple of 
Jesus and keep his riches; Jesus said what he needed was 
to give all his riches to the poor and then be a follower, 
Matt. 19; Mark 10; Luke 18. 

3. What the seven churches of Asia Minor wanted and what 
Jesus said they needed (repentance) were very different. 

4. Even things which seem innocent and correct enough in 
themselves are not always valuable or needed (I Cor. 
8-9-10; Rom. 14). 



460 



VALUES ARE . . . 

5. THE ONLY WAY MAN CAN BE SURE HIS VALUES 
ARE WHAT HE NEEDS AND NOT MERELY WHAT HE 
WANTS IS TO LET AN INFALLIBLE SOURCE REVEAL 
IT TO HIM! 
V. VALUES ARE ULTIMATELY SPIRITUAL 

A. Human beings are not just matter — not just physical beings, 
they are also spiritual — essentially, spiritual. 

1. Man transcends physical limitations (by mind). He can 
transcend time and space mentally. He reasons; he com- 
municates; he plans; remembers; ideates 
(conceptualizes); symbolizes; loves; hates; wishes; im- 
agines. 

2. If man were only physical, he would function only by in- 
stinct without any conscience (he would neither regret nor 
approve); he would condemn no/One else's behavior nor 
approve it. He would be completely amoral — have no 
feeling of responsibility. 

3. Man is an eternal spirit, made in the image of his Creator 
who is Eternal Spirit. 

B. Human beings are persons. 

1. Their problems are personal problems — not merely 
mechanical or physical problems. They often have pro- 
blems totally unrelated to that which is material and 
physical. And even those problems that seem related 
only to the physical are ultimately related to the spiritual 
— philosophical — mental essence of man. 

2. We cannot be sure of what is valuable or worthy until we 
see it proven worthy or valuable in & person. 

3. The reality or non-reality of the world, of life, and of 
values (or morality) must be found preeminently in a per- 
son, and the ultimate point where reality meets our pro- 
blems will be acceptable ONLY IN AN ULTIMATE 
PERSON! 

C. Truth and Love and Life and Immortality are more than 
abstractions — they are personal — they deal with the spirit 
and not the material. 

1 . If the reality of the world and morality is to be affirmed 
or denied, it must be at the personal, philosophical, 



461 






SECOND CORINTHIANS 

spiritual level not the physical. 

2. If the meaning of existence is to be found, it must be at 
the personal, spiritual level. If the meaning of suffering is 
to be found, it must be at the personal, spiritual, 
philosophical level, not the physical (II Cor. 12, etc.) 

D. Spiritual beings must have a spiritual authority-source by 
which to establish their values. 

1. Spiritual values cannot be established "scientifically" (em- 
pirically). They cannot be arrived at through biological, 
physiological experimentation. 

2. They must be arrived at mentally, philosophically, through a 
"faith-system" — a spiritual pilgrimage. 

3. This spiritual authority must be a spiritual Person. 
VI. THE VERY STRUCTURAL FOUNDATION OF LIFE 

A. Values are motivators. 

1. People's actions are predicatable according to their 
values because people are motivated in the direction of 
their chosen values. 

2. What people consider worthwhile, is what they 
do . . . determines why they act, what they act for, and 
what they expect to result from their actions. 

3. People do not act according to biological conditioning, 
they act according to philosophical conditioning which 
has to do with meanings, values. 

The reason so many people act like animals today is not 
because they are animals . . . but they have been taught 
to believe that gratification of animal (physical urges) is 
the ultimate meaning in life and the only thing valuable in 
life. 

ANIMALS LIVE TOTALLY ON THE PHYSICAL 
PLANE BECAUSE OF INSTINCT . . . ANIMALS 
HAVE NO CHOICE . . . THEY HAVE NO OTHER 
VALUES TO CHOOSE . . . BUT MEN DO! 

4. To change human behavior, we must change what a 
human values. 

5. It is not necessary to change environment or stimuli to 
change human behavior — human beings can change 



462 



VALUES ARE . . . 

their behavior in spite of their environment if their values 
are changed. 

THIS IS WHERE IT'S AT TO USE POOR ENGLISH AND THE 
HIP VERNACULAR! THIS IS WHAT JESUS CAME TO DO 
WITH THE GOSPEL ... TO CHANGE PEOPLE'S VALUES 
AND THUS TO CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR! 
AND WE MUST GET THIS IN THE RIGHT ORDER ... WE 
MUST BE HONEST, FACE REALITY, AND QUIT TRYING TO 
CHANGE BEHAVIOR WITHOUT FIRST CHANGING VALUES 
(CONVERTING PEOPLE) 

PEOPLE CANNOT BE FORCED, MANIPULATED, CONDI- 
TIONED, OR MANAGED INTO RIGHT BEHAVIOR IF THEIR 
VALUES ARE WRONG! 

B. Values are character-builders. 

1. People become what they value. Hosea 9:10. 

2. If people have despicable values, false values, fleshly 
values, that is the kind of persons they become . . . that is 
their viewpoint, and that is their character. 

3. People can be trusted only so far as their values are 
trustworthy! What a person values is what he is! AND 
THAT IS WHAT HE WILL BE FOR ETERNITY! 

C. Values provide reasons for living . . . they determine how we 
will use our lives and what we will use life for. Values deter- 
mine what a person expects to get from life — 

D. Values determine how we relate to other people — what our 
evaluation of another person's worth is; how we will treat 
another person (WHETHER WE WILL USE THEM AS A 
MEANS TO AN END ... TO BE MANIPULATED FOR 
OUR OWN BENEFIT, OR WHETHER WE WILL SERVE 
THEM FOR THEIR BENEFIT. 

E. Values determine our concept of ourselves . . . worth, identi- 
ty, meaning. 



463 



Special Study 
Values Are established By . . . 

Introduction 

DO YOUNG PEOPLE NEED A VALUE-SYSTEM TODAY? 

"Pursue a discussion with any rebellious youth as to why he commits 
acts that the older generation regards as depraved, self-destructive or 
irresponsible, and again and again you will hear the reply, 'Why not?' 
Try to answer 'Why not?' If you are a transitional creature living in a 
half-way house, one who has given up faith while continuing (in order 
to hold your life together) to act as if you still had it, you have no 
answer. True, you still — by and large — live by certain moral prin- 
ciples, but you cannot say why. Therein lies the basis of the curious 
guilt so often felt by parents in the face of insufferable behavior by 
their young, and their consequent indulgence of children who reject 
them. 

"The young rebel's 'Why not?' has at least two meanings: not only 
'What's to stop me?' but simultaneously, 'Give me a reason I can ac- 
cept.' For the young person wants, needs, is in fact desperate, to 
believe in something. He is in constant search of it — in 'mind- 
bending' drugs, in Zen Buddhism, in puppy-love, astrology, the Peace 
Corps, a new society, radicalism, hedonism, nihilism — anything but 
his parents" ism, which he regards as dishonest and cowardly. 

"The young rebel has not found his belief yet. The experience of learn- 
ing that an entire civilization is founded on nothing solid morally; 
that it is shot through and through with what he regards as hypocrisy; 
that he finds nothing in it to give his life meaning — this has been so 
overwhelming a shock that it has left him largely mute, inarticulate, 
confused, unable to cope. He can literally be sure of nothing. And if 
there is one word that most aptly describes the emotional reaction of 
the young to finding society without a useable moral basis, it is 
disgust." 

Reader's Digest, March, 1970 — IS THERE A SUBSTITUTE FOR 
GOD?" by David R. Klein 



464 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

Dr. John J. Meng of Fordham University states: In the college 
classroom, "Subjects are almost always discussed in terms of pro- 
blems, almost never in terms of absolutes. Now a student does need to 
be made aware of the problems of life — but if this is all he gets from 
his educational experience, the results can be tragic. 

"The professors, he concludes, have no final answer to anything! Can 
he be blamed if he concludes that ethical and moral principles are as 
subject to change as are the theories of economics or the historical in- 
terpretations of the causes of the First World War? 

". . .by saying nothing, we commit a grave sin of omission that 
leaves the young person at the mercy of his highly unreliable feelings 
and drives. We make it easy, too easy, for him to be immoral. 

"I have found, from my experience, that often the students are more 
inclined to be strict than the faculty. They know, and want, rules to 
give them some support as they struggle to make moral decisions. 
They don't want to be confused by a multiplicity of unanswered pro- 
blems and a paucity of positive replies to the great questions of life. 
Without a minimum agreement, at least, on a set of ethical and moral 
values, our colleges and universities will continue to teach only a part 
of the truth they are dedicated to pursuing." 

JUST THIS WEEK, OUR JOPLIN SCHOOL BOARD APPOINTED 
A COMMITTEE TO INSTITUTE A PROGRAM FOR THE 
TEACHING OF VALUES AND MORAL STANDARDS IN THE 
PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!!! 

I. INDOCTRINATION — (TEACHING) 

A. Redemptive (Christian) values are learned — they are not in- 
nate or genetically inherited. (Certain general values, as we 
said in the first lecture, may be revealed in the natural order 
of things ... all man has innately are logical categories 
[categories by which to reason] and the moral imperative 
["oughtness" or conscience]. But those values by which we 
are redeemed for the kingdom of heaven we must LEARN 
from Christ. 



465 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

1 . People value what they do because that is what they have 
been taught to value. 

2. The Television advertizers know that! The average 
American child watches an average of 7 hours of televi- 
sion per day! During that time he sees an average of 135 
commercial ads! IS IT ANY WONDER THAT THE 
VALUES OF TV'S GENERATIONS ARE FOCUSED 
ON MA TERIALISMV. 

3. Paul wrote in Heb. 5:14 "But solid food is for the 
mature, for those who have their faculties trained by 
practice to distinguish good from evil." 

Paul wrote to the Ephesians in that marvelous 4th and 
5th chapters, "... you must no longer live as the Gen- 
tiles do, in the futility of their minds. . . . You did not so 
learn Christ. . . . Let no one deceive you with empty 
words ... try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." 

4. Then, in the 6th chapter he commanded, "Fathers, do 
not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in 
the discipline and instruction of the Lord" 6:4. 

B. Redemptive values are learned from the Bible — and from no 
other source. 

1. Joseph T. Bayly wrote nearly 20 years ago in Eternity 
magazine, ". . . you'd think that young people who have 
grown up in an evangelical milieu would be firmly 
grounded in the Bible's authority. They're not. In my ex- 
perience, at least, I don't usually find the reflex, 'The 
Bibles says it and so it must be true,' among young men 
and women. The reaction of a' student in a Christian col- 
lege, from an evangelical background, on being reminded 
that the Bible forbids premarital intercourse, is rather 
typical of the attitude I've found. 'Maybe the Bible says 
it, but if it does, that isn't what it means.' 
"If my impressions are correct, we are in 
danger . . . since it is questionable whether morality and 
ethics — even faith (Rom. 10:17) can stand, apart from 
the support of accepted biblical authority." 
2. This is the really important thing to communicate to the 
young — complete submission to the Bible's 



466 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

authority. . . . 
The Christian Gospel offers the only absolute, workable, 
MOTIVE for morality. MOTIVE (RATIONALE, REASON 
WHY, POWER-TO-DO) IS PRIMARY, CRUCIAL! 

1. Sydney Cave said, "The Christian Gospel is Good News 
of God, not news of man, and has for its first concern not 
what men must do but what God has done. ... In 
Christ's words and deeds, in his cross and resurrection, 
there is disclosed the nature of God's character and rule, 
and so the secret of this mysterious universe . . . Chris- 
tian ethics is derivative; it asks, Since God has so acted, 
what ought we men to do?" 

2. "... the Christian message is not to be commended 
because it meets . . . patent needs of modern men. Were 
it merely useful, it would soon cease to be of use. It 
demands attention not because it may be helpful BUT 
BECAUSE IT IS TRUE. . . .' 

3 . ' 'The contribution of Christianity to the problems of per- 
sonal character and corporate activity does not lie mere- 
ly, or even chiefly, in the teaching of Jesus (per se). It lies 
in the significance of God's action for men in Jesus 
Christ ... for the grace of God in Christ demanded and 
received the response of faith; and gratitude to God for 
what he had done in Christ became the inspiration and 
the norm for Christian character. To know what God 
would have us do, we need to remember what God 
himself has done." 

4. The absoluteness of the Gospel (or of God's revelation, 
the Bible) for a moral norm has its foundation in GOD'S 
EXISTENCE AND IN GOD'S CHARACTER. If the ex- 
istence (his omnipotence, omniscience) and his character 
(justice, love, faithfulness) be deomnstrated we have a 
sufficiently authoritative motive for moral behavior. 

a. The Bible is a historical record documenting God's 
existence HE HAS ACTED, IN HISTORY 
THROUGH DEEDS AND PERSONS, AND 
FINALLY CAME TO EARTH AS A PERSON 
HIMSELF IN JESUS CHRIST. 



467 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

b. The Bible is a historical record documenting God's 
character HE IS FAITHFUL TO KEEP HIS WORD 

— thousands of prophecies have come to pass show- 
ing HIS WORDS ALWAYS COME TO PASS 

c. The Bible has demonstrated itself to be a divine book 

— historically, arechaeologically, scientifically, 
philologically, pragmatically, prophetically, textual- 
ly, and every other way. 

5. If ever we are to bring young people in their "free 
deliberate acts to the standards to which they must con- 
form in order to be suitable to man as such, to confer on 
them the perfection of which they are capable and bring 
them to the ends for which they exist . . ." IT WILL 
HAVE TO BE THROUGH TEACHING THEM TO 
RESPOND TO THE GRACIOUS GOSPEL OF 
CHRIST WHICH DELINEATES THE CHARACTER 
OF GOD UPON A SOUL! 

FOR THE GRACE OF GOD IS THE ONLY SUFFI- 
CIENT MOTIVE TO PRODUCE A GODLY MORAL 
CHARACTER IN ANY HUMAN BEING'S HEART! 

Alexander Campbell wrote in The Christian System: "Moral facts 
develop moral character ... all the works and words of God are 
moral facts and truths . . . you find the works and words of God in 
the Bible . . . when these moral facts are brought into immediate con- 
tact with the mind of man, they delineate the image of God upon the 
human soul. ..." 

Alexander remembers ... "It was the rule that every family member 
should memorize, during each day, some portion of the Bible, to be 
recited at evening worship. . . ." "They (the Scriptures) have not only 
been written on the tablet of my memory, but incorporated with my 
modes of thinking and speaking." 

I AM NOT PERSUADED WE HAVE GIVEN OUR YOUNG PEO- 
PLE A WONDERFUL ENOUGH MOTIVE FOR CHOOSING 
RIGHT VALUES! 



468 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

WE HAVE NOT GIVEN THEM CREDIT FOR ABILITY TO BE 
MOTIVATED BY WHO GOD IS AND WHAT GOD HAS 
DONE. ... WE HAVE THOUGHT TO MOTIVATE THEM BY 
PAMPERING, ENTERTAINING, ATTRACTING THEM - 
RATHER THAN TEACHING THEM ABOUT GOD\ 

D. We have not taught them! 

1. In 20 years or more of giving the simple AABC Bible 
Content Test to incoming Bible college freshmen, the 
average scores continue to be in the 30% to 40% correct 
level. THESE YOUNG PEOPLE COMING, FOR THE 
MOST PART, FROM RESTORATION MOVEMENT, 
"PEOPLE OF THE BOOK" CHURCHES, CANNOT 
EVEN PASS A SIMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE BIBLE 
CONTENT EXAM! CAN'T EVEN SCORE 50%!!! 

2. The church has only one mandate — TEACH!!! Every 
thing the church of Jesus Christ does is to center in 
TEACHING. Worship in its purest form teaches us; 
evangelism cannot be' done without teaching; 
benevolence teaches us about God's character. The work 
of ministry is teaching (see Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 1 & 2). 

3. Of course, the church's work of teaching cannot be done 
only on Sunday and Wednesday! It has to be done in the 
home, every day of the week! 

SOME WAY, OR ANOTHER, THE CORPORATE 
CONGREGATION (THE CHURCH) MUST SEE 
THAT IT'S YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TAUGHT 
BIBLICAL CONTENT SO THEY WILL LEARN 
BIBLICAL VALUES] YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE 
WITHOUT THE OTHER! 

E. The Christian Gospel (the Bible) offers the only absolute, 
workable CONTENT for morality and values worthy of 
mankind. 

1. All humanistic systems of ethics and values logically and 
inevitably reduce to totalitarianism, either of the in- 
dividual or a class of individuals. Man is left to his own 
limited, finite, fallible resources to determine what is 
moral and to try to motivate himself and others to do 
what he feels is moral. 



469 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

Manifestly, there must be a law somewhere that has higher 
obligatory power than the law of the individual, tribe or 
state. There must be a law that is superior to the will of 
one man or that of a few men, or even that of a majority 
of men. 

2. The Christian Gospel is that highest of all value-systems. 
The Christian Gospel (which includes all the New Testa- 
ment writings) offers both absolute precepts and absolute 
principles. 

a. There are certain, definite, clearly enunciated 
precepts which are absolute and imperative (com- 
manded) — both "dos' and "don'ts." 

THE N.T. FORBIDS, LYING, MURDERING, 
PRE-MARITAL AND EXTRA-MARITAL SEX, 
DRUNKENNESS, HOMOSEXUALITY, 

THIEVERY, ROBBERY, IDOLATRY, REVIL- 
ING, GREED, HATRED, AND MANY OTHER 
SUCH SINS. 

b. The N.T. clearly commands that it is right to feed the 
hungry, to tell the truth, to pay taxes for government 
services, to punish evil doers (even capital punish- 
ment), to forgive those who offend us, to work for a 
living, to mind our own affairs, etc. 

3. But, Christianity, as the N.T. presents it, is not a value- 
system of legalism (and there is a difference between law 
and legalism). The Christian value-system does not pro- 
vide us with a code of rules dealing with every case of 
conduct. 

Instead, it speaks of the grace of God in Christ which 
evokes the response of a faith which leads inevitably to 
LOVE. 

4. In the main, Christianity exhorts us to be God-like 
because of what God is like! (Eph. 5:1-2) ... In other 
words what sort of men ought those be, who have ex- 
perienced God's grace in Christ — and then it tells us and 
shows us what we ought to be like by showing us what 
God is like as He revealed himself in Christ Jesus and 
through the Spirit in the N.T. 



470 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

5. Agape love is the fundamental power offered to us for a 
value^system (II Cor. 5:14 — "The love of Christ con- 
strains (controls) us . . . ;" and I John 4:19 — "We love 
because he first loved us . . .") So also is our hope of 
heaven a "controlling" factor (I John 3:1-3); ". . . the 
love you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid 
up for you in heaven ..." Col. 1:5. 
Even the fear of the Lord is to be used in developing our 
value-system . . . "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we 
persuade men . . ." II Cor. 5:11. 

DON'T EVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT BEING GOOD 
THROUGH FEARING THE LORD ALMIGHTY IS AN UNAC- 
CEPTABLE MOTIVE ... IT IS CONSISTENTLY TAUGHT IN 
THE N.T. BY JESUS AND THE APOSTLES! ALONG WITH 
LOVE. 

Christian love is not some sentimental mush ... it is not 
really based on feelings at all! It is a deliberate principle 
of the mind and a deliberate conquest and achievement of 
the will — OFTEN IN SPITE OF FEELINGS. It is the 
power to love the unloveable, to love people whom we do 
not like ... to care for people when one does not care 
for their ways. 

It involves three deliberate acts; recognition, considera- 
tion, care. It does not have its origin in passion or philan- 
thropy. 

It is not a matter of taste or inclination. 
To love in the sense of recognizing, considering and car- 
ing is a matter that lies with the control of the will and 
therefore we can RIGHTLY BE COMMANDED TO 
LOVE in the Biblical sense. 

If agape love for God and our fellow man is our direc- 
ting principle of behavior, all actions, all persons, all 
thoughts will become relative NOT to feelings and selfish 
desires, BUT TO GOD'S REVEALED ENDS FOR 
MAN'S REDEMPTION AND REGENERATION! 

WE HAVE GOT TO CONVINCE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE THAT 

471 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

CHRIST COMMANDS THEM TO LOVE (CARE). LOVING FOR 
THE CHRISTIAN IS NOT A MATTER OF CHOICE ... IT IS A 
COMMAND! 

CHRISTIAN LOVE IS TAUGHT ... IT IS LEARNED ... IT IS 
SOMETHING WE DO. WE ARE NOT BORN WITH IT, IT IS NOT 
INNATE . . . NOT INHERITED (EXCEPT BY EXAMPLE). 
AND LOVE IS NOT SELF-DEFINING! CHRISTIAN LOVE IS 
NOT FELT ... IT IS REVEALED. GOD TELLS US EXACTLY 
WHAT AND HOW TO LOVE IN HIS WORD. WE CANNOT 
DECIDE IT ON OUR OWN! 

F. Aside from the clear, direct "dos" and "don'ts," there are 
certain principles (absolute principles) mainly written out in 
Paul's epistles. 

1 . Christian freedom in matters not spelled out in the N.T. 

2. The Christian is to do everything so it will glorify (bring 
honor and "weight" — respect, authority) to God. 
Nothing in life is excluded from this principle (I Cor. 
10:31; Col. 3:17) 

Christian liberty is bounded by the glory of God. 
The christian is never free to do anything which would br- 
ing dishonor to God and Christ. 

3 . The Christian is to do nothing that would defile his own 
conscience. 

4. The Christian must never do anything that would cause a 
weaker person to sin or violate his conscience. 

G. Is the Bible all-sufficient as a basis for establishing a value- 
system, a morals-system in this life? IT CLAIMS TO BE. 

1. It claims to be able to keep man from sin, Psa. 119:9-11; 
37:31 

2. It claims to sustain life everlasting, Deut. 8:3; John 6:63 

3. It claims that it gives all that is necessary to life and 
godliness, II Pet. 1:3-5. 

4. It claims to equip the man of God completely for all good 
works, II Tim. 3:16-17. 

5. Romans 5 & 6; Col. 1-5 claims that sin (and the N.T. lists 
a number of attitudes and actions which are clearly sin- 
ful) needs to be "put to death" in our lives because we do 
not need sinful actions and things to enjoy life even in the 



472 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

here and now. 

On the other side, the N.T. tells us to bring alive in our 
lives certain specified righteous attitudes and actions 
because we DO need these things to enjoy life now. 
Christian ethics are based on our faith (trust) in these 
pronouncements. In other words, we trust these pro- 
nouncements because we believe Christ's resurrection 
gives him the authority to call us to this kind of value- 
system. 

As Paul says, "If Christ is not raised, let us eat and drink 
for tomorrow we die ..." I Cor. 15:12-19; 15:32. 
6. New Testament system of values is, of course, for the 
citizen of the kingdom of God — one who has willingly 
accepted the rule of Christ over his life. The Christian is 
constrained by the love of Christ. He sees everything and 
decides everything from a spiritual viewpoint. (See II 
Cor. 5:11-16; 8:21; Rom. 6:11; 8:5-8; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 
2:5-13; Gal. 5:22-24). CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT 
HAVE TO BE FORCED TO DO RIGHT. 
On the other hand, LAW AND FORCE restrain the car- 
nal minded worldling. Those "outside" God's kingdom 
must be forced to do right. (See I Thess. 4:12; I Tim. 
1:8-11; 2:1-4; Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 25:11; I Pet. 2:13-17, 
etc.). If Law is to restrain it must have a penalty and that 
penalty must be commensurate to the crime and MUST 
BE ENFORCED. 
H. Even a Christian value-system (ethical system) to be practiced 
in this present world where wickedness is on every side, must 
be designed for the world that now is, not for the world, that 
OUGHT TO BE. AND THE BIBLE HAS THE ANSWER 
FOR THAT PROBLEM, TOO! 

1. There is, in the Bible, apparently a condescension on 
God's part to the fact that even Christians must practice 
(when dealing with wicked people) a HIERARCHY OF 
PRINCIPLES. It is apparently practiced in some cases in 
both O.T. and N.T. with God's approval (we will il- 
lustrate later). 

2. The HIERARCHY operates on a scale beginning with the 



473 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

highest ideal and scales downward according to necessary 

circumstances. 

a. W-l The glorification of God. 

W-2 The attainment of God's redemptive purpose 

for as many people as possible. 

W-3 The preservation of human life. 

W-4 The maintenance and development of God's 

creation. 

W-5 The avoidance of pain and discomfort of God's 

creatures, particularly human beings. 

W-6 The representation of truth to others. 

W-7 The maintenance of relationships of mutual 

trust among people. 
3. The HIERARCHICAL approach: 

a. Draws a distinction between "good" and "right." 

b. Posits the "good" as an ideal which may or may not 
be fully realizable. 

c. Posits it as "right," however, to do that which would 
most fully actualize the "good." 

d. Contends that it would be wrong to do less than max- 
imum "good," //"one could do more. 

e. This recognizes that there will be some cases in which 
the best that can be done falls far short of the ideal. 

f . The best option available may be the lesser of two 
evils (for this approach does believe in intrinsically 
good and intrinsically evil). 

g. Yet this action, although it cannot be unequivocally 
termed "good," is "right" in the sense that it is that 
which one ought to do. 

h. The hierarchical approach attempts to recognize and 
acknowledge the brokenness (hardness of heart) of 
the world in which we now live . . . which is not the 
ideal or the kingdom of God in totality. 

i. Whereas there is an ideal that god desires men to at- 
tain, the world as we now find it may be in such a 
state as to render that objective unattainable in prac- 
tice. 

j. Thus God's will in the ultimate sense (W-l) would be 



474 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

the fully "good." Yet God's will (W-2 or W-3 or 
W-4, etc.) is that man should do what most nearly 
approximates that complete "good" — the ideal. 
Example of HIERARCHICAL VALUE-SYSTEM 

a. It may be God's will that no human life should ever 
have to be taken. This would be the good (absolute 
good). 

b. Yet, given our world in which men are greedy, 
hateful, lustful, lawless, fearful, I may find myself 
called upon to take the life of another human to de- 
fend an innocent victim. 

c. We may say in this case then (with Biblical precedent 
to back it up) that this was God's will (W-2 or 3 or 4, 
etc.) down the scale of hierarchical principles and it 
thus becomes the "right" while it is not the ultimate 
"good." 

d. I cannot say that what was done was "good" (W-l), 
but I can say that what was done (defending the inno- 
cent) was "right." For doing "right" I should feel no 
guilt. But I should regret intensely that sin in man's 
heart makes such a choice necessary. It should make 
all men repent of the sin which causes such action 
(capital punishment) necessary. 

e. The distinction between the good (the ideal) and the 
right (the expedient), is an important one. For a 
christian to discuss the morality of war, divorce, civil 
order, civil rights, civil protest, taxation, etc., 
WITHOUT OBSERVING THIS DISTINCTION in- 
vites confusion and frustration. 

f. Christians must clearly face the reality that they live 
in a sinful, corrupted world. The Bible does! It is a 
world in which the BEST that can be done is far from 
the IDEAL that God wants. 

g. Ideally, no enemies to God would exist; no marital 
unfaithfulness would exist; no thievery would occur, 
no hatred and murder would be perpetrated. 

h. Under the IDEAL, complete, verbal truthfulness 
could be practiced. Vows and contracts would be 



475 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

kept; property of others would be safe, 
i. Under the IDEAL there would be no need for 

secrecy, deception, spying, force, prisons, courts, 

wars, policemen, legal contracts, no need for 

lawyers, 
j. An ethic, a value-system to be practiced presently in 

this world of the far-less-than-ideal, must be a system 

designed for the world THAT NOW IS, not for the 

world THAT OUGHT TO BE! 

God's Ideals Man 's Ethical Expedients 

1. No taking of human life at all 1. Wars of defense against ag- 

gressions, death penalty, self 
defense. 

2. No divorce at all 2. Divorce for unfaithfulness, 

remarriage, divorce for deser- 
tion. 

3. No withholding truth at all 3. Secrecy, deception, no right to 

know for those who would use 
truth to harm, etc. 

4. No enslavement or bondage at 4. Bondage to governments in 
all conscription in war time; to 

employers; to creditors, etc. 

5. Biblical examples of HIERARCHICAL ETHICS prac- 
ticed 

a. Abraham and the kings of the East 

b. Jacob and Esau 

c. Hebrew mothers and mid-wives 

d. Jonathan and Saul 

e. Joshua (God) and Ai (Joshua ch. 8) 

f. Jesus and Herod 

g. Apostles and two swords 
II. EXPERIENCE 

A. Human beings do most of their learning by doing. 

1. Heb. 5:11-14". . . For though by this time you ought to 
be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the 
first principles of God's word. . . . You need milk, not 



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VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in 
the word of righteousness, for he is a child. (WE ARE 
TO BECOME "SKILLED" IN RIGHTEOUSNESS) But 
solid food is for the mature, for those who have their 
faculties trained by practice to distinguish good and 
evil." 

The word translated "practice" is the Greek word from 
which we get gymnasium. RIGHTEOUS LIVING IS 
SOMETHING YOU "PRACTICE" LIKE YOU 
WOULD SHOOTING BASKETS . . . OVER AND 
OVER AND OVER AGAIN! 

2. Repetition, habit, practice is a fundamental principle of 
learning — even in learning what is right vs. what is 
wrong. 

Aristotle said: "Moral excellence is the result of habit or 
custom. By doing just acts we become just, and by doing 
acts of self-control and courage we become self- 
controlled and courageous . . . acts of any kind produce 
habits or characters of the same kind. ..." 
The Duke of Wellington said, "Habit is ten times 
nature." 

3. The way we learn morality, ultimately, is by engaging in 
moral actions. All learning is a private, individual activi- 
ty. 

4. Adults, parents, teachers, youth leaders, must have the 
patience, concern, and wisdom to allow our young people 
to face the realities of life and the realities of God's ab- 
solute word about values and guide these young people 
into habitual acts of righteousness as God's word defines 
righteousness. THEY LEARN WHAT GOOD IS BY 
DOING GOOD! 

5. Shepherds of youth must allow young people to be hurt 
by the consequences of wrong moral choices. THIS IS 
ANOTHER PART OF LEARNING BY EXPERIENC- 
ING! 

We all, even adults, learn through reward and punish- 
ment. That is a Biblical way of learning values. The Bible 
teaches this principle both by precept and demonstration 



477 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

in history. 
B. There could be actual learning-by-doing events planned and 
carried out with young people participating in DOING 
GOOD, and thus learning to make right value judgments by 
doing. 

1. Works of benevolence will go a long way in learning 
values by doing. They will learn the value of service, the 
value of help, the value of human life, the value of 
thankfulness, the value of being responsible, true, com- 
passionate, etc. 

2. Placing youngsters in positions of trust — where they will 
have to choose honesty vs. dishonesty, responsibilty vs. 
irresponsibility, truth vs. falsehood, is also a good way to 
learn values by doing. 

3. Discipline, correction, punishment — when necessary to 
reinforce that a wrong value was chosen, is a way of 
learning-by-doing . 

DON'T NEGLECT IT, OR DOWNGRADE 
IT . . . PRACTICE IT, FAIRLY, FIRMLY, CON- 
SISTENTLY AND FAITHFULLY. 
III. LEADERSHIP 

A. Adults must supply authority resources for youngsters. 

1. Parents, youth leaders MUST BECOME A PRIMARY 
SOURCE OF AUTHORITY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 

2. Adults not only have a Biblical mandate to BE (to a cer- 
tain extent) the AUTHORITY in values for young people, 
they are ordered to BE by Jesus Christ in the Bible, (e.g. 
parents are ordered to do so in Eph. 6:4; I Tim. 3:1-7, 
esp.v. 5; I Tim. 5:1, 17ff; Titus 2:1-10 . . .and of course 
the O.T. is profuse in such instruction). 

3. There is a great deal said about the younger, and 
spiritually immature obeying the older christians AS 
SOURCES OF AUTHORITY IN LEARNING AND 
DOING GOOD (see scriptures listed above plus Heb. 
13:7,17 etc.). 

4. The simple fact of life is, young people need, must have, 
their value systems authoritatively given to them by 
adults ! 



478 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

Al Capp, famous creator of the comic strip, "Li'l 
Abner" was being interviewed on a college campus" 
"Student: Do you think the opinions of 18-year-olds are 
valuable? 

Capp: Certainly. But only on subjects they know 
something about, such as puberty and hubcaps. 
Same Student: But only a few weeks ago, on that very 
platform, a politician told us he considered 18-year-old 
students just as smart as he is. 

Capp: Any man over 40 who thinks 18-year-olds are just 
as smart as he is, is probably right." 
Young people want adults to BE authoritative so they may 
have a ground of wisdom and experience upon which to base 
their value choices. 

1. They may say they don't want anyone telling them what 
is right and wrong, but that is only "surface" — it is a 
signal they are struggling with finding identity. 

Deep down, their insecurities, fears, confusions are cry- 
ing out for leadership, authority, reality, truth to guide 
them in finding their identity. 

Jesus even told adults (Peter at Caesarea Philippi) that 
they would find their identity when they surrendered to 
His authority] Matt. 16. 

2. Dr. Bruno Bettelheim, director of the school for 
psychotic children at University of Chicago writes: "The 
political content of student revolt (back in the 60's) is 
most of all a desperate wish that the parents should have 
been strong in the convictions that motivate his 
actions ..." from The Permissive Society, by Boris 
Sokiloff, p. 213. 

3 . Peer pressure is extremely unsafe as an authoritative basis 
for teenagers (or even for adults) in finding a value 
system. Peer pressure is only "pooled" teenage insecurity 
and ignorance. It is what Al Capp said multiplied by as 
many teenagers as it takes to make a peer group. 

4. Teens have not lived enough years and faced enough 
realities of life as it is really lived to act on any basis but 
their own immediate feelingsl 



479 



SECOND CORINTHIANS 

They have not garnered enough experience concerning the 
consequences of moral choosing (either from their own 
personal experiences or that of their peers) to THINK 
clearly and logically, and thus to exercise any convic- 
tions about what is valuable and what is not. 
5. The Bible clearly teaches that young people must respect 
their elders (and I don't mean necessarily church officers) 
— the older generation. According to the Bible, age is 
supposed to be equated with wisdom, leadership, 
authority. 

That isn't always the case, of course. Some older people 
are more immature than the younger generation. Usually 
because they are afraid of growing older and try to think 
and behave like youngsters! 

YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT REALLY WANT THEIR 

YOUTH LEADERS TO THINK AND ACT LIKE 

CHILDREN! WHAT KIND OF LEADERSHIP AND 

AUTHORITY DOES THAT PROVIDE FOR THEM? 

C. The time is now! ADULTS MUST EXERCISE THE 

AUTHORITY GOD INTENDED THEM TO EXERCISE, 

IN THE COMPASSIONATE, FIRM, FAITHFUL WAY 

GOD INTENDED THEM TO EXERCISE IT. 

1. Authority, God-saturated and centered authority, is im- 
perative to perpetuating a God-revealed value-system. 

2. Christian value-systems have to be handed from one 
generation to the next. CHRISTIAN VALUES DO NOT 
HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY! They are not bred into 
people — they are taught! AND THERE IS NO 
TEACHING WHATEVER WITHOUT THE EXER- 
CISE OF AUTHORITY! 

3. YOU, S.S. TEACHERS, PREACHERS, YOUTH 
LEADERS, ELDERS, DEACONS, AND, MOST IM- 
PORTANTLY, PARENTS, MUST NOT ABDICATE 
AN AUTHORITATIVE APPROACH TO PASSING 
ON VALUE-SYSTEMS TO THE NEXT GENERA- 
TION. 

The hue and cry today from the President of the U.S. 
down to the school board member in Joplin, Missouri, is 



480 



VALUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY . . . 

that the adult world (parents, churches, schools) HAVE 

abdicated the authoritative approach to perpetuating 

value-systems. 

IT MUST NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. 

You must tell them what God has told the world in his 

Word and you must speak and teach it with authority. 

Then, most significantly, you must live what you tell! 



481 



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SECOND CORINTHIANS 



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484